Author, professional blogger, and
President of KeySplash Creative, Inc.
• Sign up for a Google Blogger account
• Choose a blog topic and write content
with Google Blogger
• Enhance your blog with addons and
• Monetize and market your blog
Making Everything Easier!™
Open the book and find:
• How to choose a blog topic and
personalize your blog
•What you should know about
• How to maintain your blog with
tools like BlogThis! and Quick Edit
• Simple search engine optimization
•Tips for tracking your blog traffic
•Where to find cool free templates
• How to make money from your
•Ten useful social networking sites
Susan Gunelius is President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a full-
service marketing communications provider. She is also a professional
blogger and seasoned marketing and branding expert with two other
books to her credit. In addition to being the Guide to Web Logs for About.
com, she authors blogs for a variety of clients as well as her own blogs,
WomenOnBusiness.com and KeySplashCreative.com.
$24.99 US / $29.99 CN / £16.99 UK
Internet/Web Page Design
Go to dummies.com®
Here’s what you need
to know to get started
with Google Blogger
Want to share your opinions,promote your business,
network with others,and maybe pick up a few extra dollars,
all without learning to program? Millions of people are
doing it with Google Blogger,and you can too.This book
helps you create a Blogger account,write compelling
content,build an audience,make money from your blog,
• What’s a blog, and what’s Blogger? — learn the parts of a blog,
what Blogger does, and how to choose goals and blog topics
• Nuts and bolts — choose a domain name, learn to use the
dashboard, pick a template, and configure settings
• Blog effectively — learn blogosphere etiquette and some secrets
for long-term success
• Fun bells and whistles — dress up your blog with templates (lots
of them are free!)
• Does making dollars make sense? — explore options for
Google Adsense®, contextual and text link ads, paid posts, and
merchandising with CafePress™
• Spread the word — promote your blog through search engines
and social networking sites
• A family of blogs — set up multi-user blogs or branch into mobile
blogging, podcasting, or video blogging
• Get more Google — use Picasa®, YouTube™, Feedburner, and
About the Author
Susan Gunelius is a marketing expert who added blogging to her skill set as
an extension of her career as an author and a freelance writer. Her marketing
background and writing experience allowed her to quickly learn and lever-
age the blogosphere as a tool for personal and professional growth. Today,
Susan is a professional blogger authoring several blogs for various small
and large companies. Additionally, she writes her company blog at www.
KeySplashCreative.com/category/blog and a personal blog at www.
WomenOnBusiness.com, and she is the Guide to Web Logs for About.com,
a New York Times company (http://weblogs.about.com).
Susan spent the first decade of her career managing and executing marketing
programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions
of AT&T and HSBC Bank. In 2004, she left the corporate world and, shortly
thereafter, began a freelance career as a writer, a copywriter, an author, a
professional blogger, and a marketing and branding consultant. In 2008, she
opened KeySplash Creative, Inc. (www.KeySplashCreative.com), and as its
president, offers marketing and writing services to clients around the world.
Susan’s marketing-related articles have appeared on Web sites such as
Entrepreneur.com, MSNBC.com, FoxBusiness.com, WashingtonPost.com,
TheStreet.com, SmartMoney.com, Yahoo! Small Business, and Yahoo!
Finance. Additionally, she is the author of Harry Potter: The Story of a Global
Business Phenomenon (Palgrave Macmillan) and Kick-ass Copywriting in
10 Easy Steps (Entrepreneur Press).
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01_407424-ffirs.indd vi01_407424-ffirs.indd vi 12/23/08 7:54:08 PM12/23/08 7:54:08 PM
To my husband, Scott, who encourages me to pursue my goals and makes
countless sacrifices to help me reach them.
First, I have to acknowledge my husband, Scott, for making sure our home
keeps running while I write, and my children — Brynn, Daniel, and Ryan —
for continuing to thrive despite my absence while I write. I also want to thank
my parents, Bill and Carol Ann Henry, for their constant support and help
while I write.
I want to thank my acquisitions editor at Wiley, Amy Fandrei, for asking me to
write this book, and Tiffany Ma, Mark Enochs, and Nicole Sholly at Wiley for
helping to make the book a reality. A big thank-you also goes to my technical
editor, Roberta Rosenberg.
My agent, Bob Diforio, also deserves a thank-you for staying on top of all the
ideas and opportunities I bring to him and working with my best interests in
Finally, I want to acknowledge every person who reads my blogs and say
“Thank you” for being interested in reading what I have to say and for joining
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We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our online registration form
located at http://dummies.custhelp.com. For other comments, please contact our Customer
Care Department within the U.S. at 877-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax
Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:
Project Editor: Nicole Sholly
Acquisitions Editor: Amy Fandrei
Copy Editors: Rebecca Whitney, Brian Walls
Technical Editor: Roberta Rosenberg
Editorial Managers: Kevin Kirschner,
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Cartoons: Rich Tennant (www.the5thwave.com)
Project Coordinator: Erin Smith
Layout and Graphics: Reuben W. Davis,
Melissa K. Jester, Ronald Terry,
Proofreaders: Evelyn W. Gibson,
Indexer: Sharon Shock
Special Help: Colleen Totz-Diamond,
Publishing and Editorial for Technology Dummies
Richard Swadley, Vice President and Executive Group Publisher
Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher
Mary Bednarek, Executive Acquisitions Director
Mary C. Corder, Editorial Director
Publishing for Consumer Dummies
Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher
Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services
Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services
01_407424-ffirs.indd viii01_407424-ffirs.indd viii 12/23/08 7:54:08 PM12/23/08 7:54:08 PM
Contents at a Glance
Introduction ................................................................ 1
Part I: Introducing Google Blogger................................ 7
Chapter 1: Choosing Blogger as Your Blogging Software.............................................9
Chapter 2: Welcome to the Blogosphere......................................................................19
Chapter 3: Blogging Basics and Buzzwords .................................................................29
Part II: Using Google Blogger..................................... 41
Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger.......................................................................43
Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog ....................................................................................57
Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts .............................................................81
Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates........................................................99
Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets..........121
Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog ...................................................................................157
Part III: Making Money with Blogger........................ 179
Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging.........................................................................181
Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense...........................................209
Part IV: Growing Your Audience................................ 235
Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building ..........................237
Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking...................................................259
Part V: Extending Your Blog ..................................... 273
Chapter 14: Growing or Downsizing Your Blog..........................................................275
Chapter 15: Blogging from Different Media ................................................................287
Chapter 16: Moving Beyond Blogger...........................................................................297
Part VI: The Part of Tens.......................................... 307
Chapter 17: Ten Useful Social Networking and Social Bookmarking Sites.............309
Chapter 18: Ten Common Blogger Problems and Possible Solutions ....................319
Chapter 19: Ten Places to Find Free Blogger Themes and Templates....................327
Index ...................................................................... 345
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Table of Contents
About Google Blogger For Dummies.............................................................1
Conventions Used in This Book.....................................................................2
What You Don’t Have to Read........................................................................3
How This Book Is Organized..........................................................................3
Part I: Introducing Google Blogger ......................................................3
Part II: Using Google Blogger................................................................3
Part III: Making Money with Blogger....................................................4
Part IV: Growing Your Audience..........................................................4
Part V: Extending Your Blog.................................................................4
Part VI: The Part of Tens.......................................................................4
Icons Used in This Book .................................................................................5
Where to Go from Here...................................................................................5
Part I: Introducing Google Blogger ................................ 7
Chapter 1: Choosing Blogger as Your Blogging Software . . . . . . . . . . .9
Understanding the Google Connection.......................................................11
Debunking Blogger Myths ............................................................................12
Discovering the Benefits of Blogger............................................................13
It’s easy to use......................................................................................14
It has loads of features........................................................................14
It’s versatile ..........................................................................................14
It can help you make money...............................................................15
It exposes you to the spirit of community........................................16
Comparing Blogger to Other Blogging Software Options.........................16
Blogging with Blogger ...................................................................................17
The first steps.......................................................................................17
The right tools......................................................................................18
Chapter 2: Welcome to the Blogosphere. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
Starting a Blog................................................................................................19
Joining the blogosphere......................................................................20
Knowing why people blog...................................................................21
Understanding the pros and cons of blogging.................................21
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Google Blogger For Dummiesxii
Establishing Goals for Your Blog.................................................................22
Choosing a Topic...........................................................................................23
Growing Your Blog ........................................................................................26
Making Money from Your Blog ....................................................................26
The Secrets to Blogging Success .................................................................26
Chapter 3: Blogging Basics and Buzzwords . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
Picking a Template ........................................................................................29
Making a Home Page .....................................................................................30
Creating a Profile ...........................................................................................31
Filling the Sidebar..........................................................................................32
Posting Content .............................................................................................33
Interacting with Comments..........................................................................35
Publishing Backlinks .....................................................................................36
Using Labels ...................................................................................................36
Adding a Footer .............................................................................................37
Building Relationships with Links...............................................................38
Including Subscriptions and Feeds .............................................................39
Part II: Using Google Blogger...................................... 41
Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Taking Your First Steps into the Blogosphere...........................................43
Creating a Google account..................................................................43
Choosing a domain name....................................................................46
Selecting a basic template ..................................................................47
Joining the blogosphere......................................................................48
Getting Familiar with Blogger ......................................................................49
Signing in to Blogger............................................................................49
Introducing the Blogger dashboard ..................................................51
Entering and publishing posts ...........................................................51
Changing Blogger settings ..................................................................52
Customizing your blog ........................................................................54
Signing out of Blogger .........................................................................55
Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
Creating Your Profile.....................................................................................57
Adding information to your profile....................................................59
Designing Your Home Page ..........................................................................66
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xiiiTable of Contents
Customizing Your Blog .................................................................................69
Publishing, configuring privacy, editing, and composing ..............69
Formatting posts, times, dates, and languages................................72
Enabling comments and backlinks ....................................................74
Setting up archiving.............................................................................77
Assigning permissions ........................................................................78
Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .81
Thinking Things Through.............................................................................81
Coming up with titles ..........................................................................82
Considering search engine optimization ..........................................83
Creating a Blog Post......................................................................................83
Saving with Auto Save .........................................................................86
Creating a draft post............................................................................86
Adding Visual Interest...................................................................................88
Formatting text and layout .................................................................88
Adding links to blog posts ..................................................................89
Administering Your Blog Posts....................................................................94
Allowing comments .............................................................................94
Using the post date-and-time feature................................................96
Revisiting Old Posts ......................................................................................97
Finding an archived post ....................................................................97
Editing a post........................................................................................98
Deleting a post......................................................................................98
Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .99
Reviewing Blogger Layouts ..........................................................................99
Choosing a Template ..................................................................................100
Templates versus headers................................................................100
Columns and layout...........................................................................103
Sidebar capacity and placement......................................................104
Future blogging goals ........................................................................104
Finding templates ..............................................................................105
Considering Types of Templates...............................................................105
Templates from Blogger....................................................................106
Free templates from third parties....................................................109
Premium templates from third parties ...........................................111
Custom templates from third parties..............................................111
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Google Blogger For Dummiesxiv
Changing a Template...................................................................................112
Choosing a different Blogger template............................................112
Modifying the fonts and colors in your template ..........................113
Switching to a custom template.......................................................114
Knowing what to do after you apply a third-party template........118
Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality
with Elements and Gadgets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121
Editing Basic Page Elements ......................................................................121
Including a header .............................................................................122
Modifying blog posts.........................................................................123
Editing the About Me box .................................................................126
Adding archives .................................................................................128
Providing a blog list...........................................................................133
Inviting followers ...............................................................................136
Presenting a slideshow .....................................................................136
Offering subscription links ...............................................................139
Taking a Poll .......................................................................................139
Adding a List.......................................................................................140
Including a Link List...........................................................................142
Adding a picture.................................................................................144
Setting up a feed.................................................................................148
Setting up a newsreel ........................................................................150
Including the Blogger logo................................................................154
Adding Third-Party Gadgets.......................................................................155
Arranging Elements and Gadgets ..............................................................155
Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .157
Increasing Visibility and Accessibility......................................................157
Inviting comments .............................................................................158
Moderating comments ......................................................................159
Managing feeds and subscriptions..................................................163
Adding More Features to Your Blog..........................................................168
Instant blogging with BlogThis!........................................................168
Sending posts with BlogSend ...........................................................169
Publishing posts with Mail-to-Blogger ............................................170
Understanding basic HTML..............................................................171
Tracking your stats............................................................................173
Choosing a statistic tracker..............................................................174
Deciding what to track ......................................................................175
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xvTable of Contents
Part III: Making Money with Blogger......................... 179
Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .181
Making Money from Your Blog ..................................................................182
Understanding monetization options..............................................182
Examining the pros and cons of monetization options ................183
Knowing what to look for in a monetization option......................183
Choosing Blogger Monetization Options..................................................184
Contextual link ads ............................................................................185
Text link ads .......................................................................................187
Affiliate ads .........................................................................................192
Merchandising and mini-malls .........................................................198
Feed ads ..............................................................................................200
Sponsored reviews ............................................................................203
Other monetization options .............................................................206
Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense . . . . . . . . . .209
Making Sense of AdSense ...........................................................................209
Exploring the available ads ..............................................................210
Finding your way around Google AdSense.....................................211
Understanding Google AdSense policies ........................................211
Getting help ........................................................................................212
Registering with AdSense...........................................................................213
Setting Up AdSense on Your Blog..............................................................216
Choosing an ad format......................................................................216
Choosing the appropriate ad size....................................................219
Placing AdSense ads on your blog...................................................220
Adding AdSense ads between blog posts.......................................224
Configuring AdSense for Feeds..................................................................227
Tracking Your Success ...............................................................................233
Part IV: Growing Your Audience ................................ 235
Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building . . .237
Submitting Your Blog to Search Engines..................................................237
MSN Live Search ................................................................................239
Navigating the Social Web..........................................................................241
Building a blog community...............................................................241
Commenting on other blogs.............................................................242
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Google Blogger For Dummiesxvi
Introducing Social Networking ..................................................................243
Promoting your blog by using social networking..........................244
Checking out popular social networking sites...............................244
Understanding Social Bookmarking..........................................................248
Promoting your blog by using social bookmarking.......................248
Following the rules ............................................................................249
Getting to know the popular social bookmarking sites ................249
Microblogging for Blog Traffic...................................................................256
Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .259
Understanding Search Engine Optimization............................................259
Driving traffic to your blog ...............................................................260
Using keyword analysis.....................................................................261
Boosting popularity by using links..................................................265
Using SEO to Increase Your Search Engine Ranking...............................266
Using SEO tips and tricks..................................................................266
Hurting your ranking by making simple mistakes.........................268
Checking Your Page Rank and Links.........................................................269
Part V: Extending Your Blog...................................... 273
Chapter 14: Growing or Downsizing Your Blog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .275
Adding and Deleting Blogs .........................................................................275
Adding a blog......................................................................................275
Deleting a blog....................................................................................278
Canceling a Blogger account ............................................................281
Setting Up Multiuser Team Blogs ..............................................................281
Adding team members ......................................................................281
Establishing the blog administrator and permissions..................284
Joining and leaving team blogs........................................................285
Chapter 15: Blogging from Different Media. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .287
Blogging on the Go: Mobile Blogging ........................................................287
Podcasting with Audio................................................................................288
Making the case for podcasts...........................................................289
Ensuring that you have the right podcasting tools.......................289
Creating and publishing a podcast..................................................290
Podcasting with Video ................................................................................293
Using vlogging equipment ................................................................294
Creating a vlog with Blogger ............................................................294
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xviiTable of Contents
Chapter 16: Moving Beyond Blogger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .297
Using Your Own Domain.............................................................................298
Obtaining a domain from Blogger....................................................298
Buying a domain from a third party................................................301
Using a Third-Party Host ............................................................................302
Publishing via FTP.......................................................................................302
Blogger Help .......................................................................................304
Blogger Help Group ...........................................................................304
BloggerHelp channel on YouTube...................................................304
Part VI: The Part of Tens........................................... 307
Chapter 17: Ten Useful Social Networking
and Social Bookmarking Sites . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .309
Chapter 18: Ten Common Blogger Problems
and Possible Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .319
You Have Trouble Signing In to Your Blogger Account..........................319
Username problems ..........................................................................320
Browser problems .............................................................................321
You Cannot Access Your Blogger Account..............................................322
You Discover the Case of the Disappearing Blog....................................322
Your Blog Is Identified As Spam.................................................................322
You Don’t’ Know Why Changes Aren’t Being Published ........................323
You Have Profile Problems.........................................................................324
Your Text Formatting Buttons Are Missing .............................................325
Your Post Labels Are Missing....................................................................325
You See Strange Characters, Blank Pages, or Undecipherable Code ...325
You Have a Floating Sidebar ......................................................................326
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Whether your blogging goals are to flex your creative writing muscles,
share photos with friends around the world, make money, or support
a growing business, all the tools you need are at your fingertips with Google
Blogger. This book shows you how to find those tools and use them
Blogging can be confusing and intimidating. A perusal of the Internet reveals
a wealth of information from people from all walks of life who have varying
experiences and opinions. Google Blogger For Dummies cuts through the
hearsay and opinions to deliver the information you need in order to use the
most popular blogging software program now available. Read each chapter
as you develop your blog, and you’ll soon find that you’re no longer a novice
but rather, one of the seasoned pros that other bloggers seek out for advice,
opinions, and networking.
About Google Blogger For Dummies
Google Blogger For Dummies offers easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions to
help new bloggers get started with Blogger immediately. Here’s some of the
information you can take in as you read this book — you’ll find out how to
✓ Set up your blog by using Blogger
✓ Organize your blog so it’s positioned for success from the start
✓ Make sense of blogging terminology
✓ Become comfortable with the Blogger dashboard (how to use it and
what to do with it)
✓ Publish posts and join the blogosphere
✓ Design your blog by using layouts and templates
✓ Incorporate images, videos, and more into your blog
✓ Explore the many features that are available to enhance your blog
✓ Manage your blog’s performance
✓ Make money from your blog
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2 Google Blogger For Dummies
✓ Grow your blog through networking, promotion, and search engine
✓ Use various media to blog, such as audio and video
✓ Find help when you need it
Blogger is an excellent blogging platform choice for beginning bloggers. It’s
easy to use, chock-full of helpful features (and more are added all the time),
and — best of all — completely free! Don’t be afraid to dive in and start blog-
ging with this book by your side.
I wrote Google Blogger For Dummies with the beginning blogger’s knowledge
level in mind. Although this book is a beginner’s guide, I assume a few things
about you before you begin reading:
✓ You have a computer, and you know how to use it. You know at least
how to turn it on and access the Internet.
✓ You know how to browse the Web.
✓ You understand what blogging is and have already read (or at least seen)
✓ You want to start your own blog or you already have a blog and want to
find out how to use the features that are available to you in Blogger to
enhance your existing blog.
If you aren’t familiar with blogging, I suggest that you also read Blogging For
Dummies, Second Edition, by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley (Wiley
Conventions Used in This Book
Don’t get nervous. Conventions are simply a set of rules used throughout this
book to present information to you consistently. When you see a term itali-
cized, for example, look for its definition, which is included so that you know
what things mean in the context of blogging. Sometimes, step-by-step instruc-
tions included in this book direct you to enter specific text on-screen. In this
case, the text you need to type appears in bold. Web site addresses (URLs) and
e-mail addresses are in monofont so that they stand out from regular text.
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What You Don’t Have to Read
Google Blogger For Dummies is split into six parts. You don’t have to read this
book sequentially, and you don’t even have to read all the sections in any
particular chapter. You can use the table of contents and the index to find
the information you need and to quickly get answers to help you complete
the task at hand.
Keep in mind that you might never need to read some sections of this book.
For example, if you have no intention of trying to make money from your
blog, you can skip Part III. I have to point out, however, that this book is
set up chronologically: A novice blogger who works through each chapter
sequentially will have a fully functional and feature-rich blog by the time she
reaches the end of the book. How you choose to use this book is up to you,
How This Book Is Organized
Google Blogger For Dummies is made up of six parts. Here’s a description of
what you can find in each part.
Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Part I provides an introduction to blogging and Blogger. I tell you what blog-
ging is and how to prepare to create your own blog, and then I give you all
the basic terminology you need to dive into the blogosphere.
Part II: Using Google Blogger
In Part II, you start to get your feet wet and your hands dirty. In other words,
get ready to begin building your blog with Blogger!
You find out how to create your Blogger account, develop your profile, con-
figure your blog’s settings and options, and write and publish your first post.
You also find out how to enhance your posts with features and personalize
your blog design by using unique templates. Because blogging is about more
than just publishing content, this part of the book also shows you how to
manage and maintain your blog for long-term success. Finally, I tell you about
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4 Google Blogger For Dummies
the written and unwritten rules of the blogosphere so that your foray into
blogging is successful and problem-free.
Part III: Making Money with Blogger
If you’re interested in making money from your blog, you don’t want to miss
this part of the book. You find out about various blog monetization methods
and are introduced in depth to Google AdSense, which integrates directly
Part IV: Growing Your Audience
If you want to grow your blog and attract new visitors to it, be sure to read
Part IV, where you find out how to promote your blog by using social net-
working and social bookmarking. You also find out how to use search engine
optimization techniques to boost traffic from search engines to your blog.
Part V: Extending Your Blog
There may come a time when you want to add a blog to your Blogger account
or delete a blog. This part teaches you how to do both and how to add users
to your existing blog or to join another blogger’s blog. You’re also introduced
to podcasting, vlogging, and moblogging. Finally, if you want to get your own
domain name or host your blog by using a third-party host, you can find out
how in this part.
Part VI: The Part of Tens
The Part of Tens is a useful feature of all For Dummies books. You can read
quick lists that provide high level information to help you find Blogger tem-
plates and to solve common Blogger problems.
The blogosphere and social Web have a language all their own. Use the glos-
sary to make sense of the terms you don’t understand that are used through-
out this book.
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Icons Used in This Book
A unique and incredibly useful feature of all For Dummies books is the inclu-
sion of helpful icons that point you in the direction of valuable information,
tips, and tricks:
Points out helpful information that’s likely to save you time and effort.
Marks a fact that’s interesting and useful — something that you might want to
remember for later use.
Highlights lurking danger. This icon tells you to pay attention and proceed
Points to techie-type stuff nearby. If you’re not feeling highly technical, you
can skip this info, but if you’re brave, the information next to the Technical
Stuff icons throughout this book can be extremely helpful.
Where to Go from Here
This book can be read in any order you choose. Each chapter stands on its
own and can help you tackle specific tasks. For example, if you already have
a Blogger account but have yet to set up your blog, go directly to Part II to
find how to personalize your blog and start publishing content. If you know
how to use Blogger but want to better understand how to use the features
that are offered to you, check out Chapter 8. If you have an active blog and
want to monetize it, read Part III; to grow your blog, read Part IV. Your first
stop is to read the table of contents and find the sections of this book that
you need at any time.
Blogging is fun! Don’t overthink things. Keep this book handy and refer to it as
needed. Now, turn the page and prepare to join the exciting world of blogging.
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6 Google Blogger For Dummies
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In this part . . .
Meet Blogger, the most popular free blogging soft-
ware program. Millions of people just like you
started their forays into the blogosphere with little or no
knowledge of what to do first or where to find help. You
might even be wondering what Blogger is or what Google
has to do with this whole blogging thing.
You’ve come to the right place (or should I say, chosen
the right book) to find the answers you need to not just
join the blogosphere but also to become an active, con-
tributing member. Starting a blog can be intimidating, so
the best place to start is at the beginning.
Part 1 shows you not only what Blogger is but also how to
start your own blog by using the Blogger platform. From
choosing your blog topic and domain name to under-
standing the terminology that goes with blogging, you can
find all the basics here.
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In This Chapter
▶ Understanding Blogger
▶ Connecting Google and Blogger
▶ Debunking Blogger myths
▶ Knowing the benefits of Blogger
▶ Considering other blogging software
▶ Getting started with Blogger
So you made the decision to start a blog. Blogger is a perfect tool to help
you publish your thoughts, ideas, and opinions as part of the growing
blogosphere. Blogger not only is user-friendly but also has the power of one
of the world’s strongest brands behind it: Google. Starting a blog might seem
intimidating at first, but blogging is one of the simplest ways to get your
Whether you’re starting a blog for business or just for fun, Blogger offers the
tools, features, and support you need to be a successful blogger. To top it off,
Blogger is completely free to use. In this chapter, I tell you what Blogger can
do for you to help you make the most of your blogging experience. You might
be surprised at just how much this free blogging platform has to offer.
Pyra Labs launched Blogger in 1999 as one of the first programs dedicated
completely to blogging. At the time, blogging was in its infancy, and the three
Web developers who created Blogger had no idea what their product would
grow to become.
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10 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Blogger is often credited with helping to boost blogging into the mainstream.
By offering an easy-to-use and easily accessible blogging platform, people
slowly began to realize how much power blogging could deliver. Terms such
as user-generated content, citizen journalism, and social Web became part of
the common vernacular, and people (and businesses) from all walks of life
wanted to jump on the blogging bandwagon.
But what exactly is a blogging platform? In the simplest terms, a blogging plat-
form (or blogging software) is the computer program that does all the work
behind the scenes to publish your content on the Internet. You type the con-
tent into your blogging software, such as Blogger, WordPress, or TypePad,
and the blogging software creates a Web site where your content resides (see
Figure 1-1). The blogging software formats your content, dates it, archives it,
and more. Suddenly, having a Web site was no longer a possibility only for
businesses with a budget to burn. With the birth of blogging and the popular-
ity of Blogger, anyone could have an online presence, become a blogger, and
join an online community that would come to be known as the blogosphere.
Blogger simply gives your blog a home online. Imagine Blogger as a banquet
hall. As host, Blogger offers a location for various people to create and store
their blogs just as a banquet hall gives people a place to hold events. What
happens on your blog and the success of your blog depends on you.
Unlike a traditional Web site that offers a static message, a blog works more
like an online diary with posts published in reverse chronological order. In
this way, blogs tell a story, and that story is completely up to the blogger,
who has the freedom to write and publish anything he wants. Although blogs
started out as very simple online diaries, they grew to be much more. Blogs
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11Chapter 1: Choosing Blogger as Your Blogging Software
are still used now by many people simply for fun, but they are also used by
people who try to earn an income from them, launch a new career, or build a
business, for example. The opportunities that blogs create are seemingly end-
less. It’s all up to the blogger.
Of course, some unwritten rules of the blogosphere and secrets to success
exist, such as posting frequency, networking, and creating compelling con-
tent. However, a blog is the product of the blogger and evolves the way the
blogger desires. At its core, blogging is a simple concept. It requires little to
no monetary investment but could potentially demand a great deal of sweat
Understanding the Google Connection
In 2003, Google noticed Blogger and made an offer to purchase the blogging
platform from Pyra Labs. Google had been known in the online world as the
search engine powerhouse that was extending its reach to include online
advertising and more. In fact, Blogger could be considered one of the first in
a string of acquisitions made by Google to extend its brand and its strength
in the online market.
It turned out that Google’s timing was perfect, and Blogger’s hundreds of
thousands of users quickly turned into millions. Google benefited from new
access to millions of customers, and Blogger users benefited from a series
of redesigns and upgrades to the software program that made it easier to
use and added more functionality than ever. Those upgrades and redesigns
would allow the new Blogger to retain its position as the leader in a market
that was growing more and more competitive every day. The blogging plat-
form that was once considered the “beginner’s tool” continues to attract new
users at a staggering rate.
Blogger users can now leverage the power of Google and its many products.
Considering the availability of Google applications, users of Blogger can
easily incorporate them into their blogs to advertise, publish content from
mobile phones, upload and embed videos, and send RSS feeds to their feed
readers. Here are several Google applications that users of Blogger can incor-
porate into their blogs:
✓ Google Docs: With Google Docs, users can create documents, spread-
sheets, and presentations. Google Docs is particularly helpful when
bloggers want to share documents with other people or publish presen-
tations on their blogs.
✓ Blogger Mobile: If you use a mobile device in the United States, you may
be able to publish content on your blog directly from that device. Take a
look at Chapter 15 for details about blogging via your mobile device.
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12 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
✓ Google Earth: Google Earth is a perfect tool for creating maps for your blog.
✓ Gmail: Gmail is an excellent free email program that can be accessed
from any computer. Read Chapter 9 to see how Gmail works seamlessly
with Mail-to-Blogger and makes it easy to publish blog posts from any-
where at any time.
✓ Google Groups: You can join Google Groups that interest you in order
to network and share information with like-minded people. Alternatively,
you can start your own Google Group. Each of these activities can help
drive traffic to your blog, as described in Chapter 12.
✓ Picasa: When you upload photos to Blogger, they’re stored in your
Picasa account, which comes free with Blogger. You can also organize
and edit your photos by using Picasa. Check out Chapter 6 for details
✓ Feedburner: Feedburner is the most popular Web content feed-manage-
ment program online. You can share your blog’s feed using Feedburner
for readers to subscribe to using their feed reader of choice, such as
Google Reader. Chapter 9 provides more information about blog feeds.
✓ Google Toolbar: Using the free Google toolbar helps you save time
because redundant tasks are quicker to perform with a click of the mouse.
Additionally, the Blogger instant-blogging feature, BlogThis!, appears
directly on the Google Toolbar. BlogThis! is covered in Chapter 9.
✓ Google Reader: Google Reader allows you to subscribe to blogs and to
follow those feeds from any computer or certain mobile devices. More
details about Google Reader are in Chapter 9.
✓ YouTube: You can upload your own YouTube videos to embed in your
blog, or you can use YouTube to find videos by other users that you
want to share in your blog. Check out Chapter 15 for more information
on adding videos to your blog posts.
✓ Google Video: Google Video is a video search engine as well as a site to
upload videos that you can link to or embed in your blog.
✓ Google AdSense: AdSense is an advertising system you can use to dis-
play ads on your blog in order to generate revenue. Read Chapter 11 for
all the details about Google AdSense.
✓ Orkut: You can use the Orkut social networking site to promote your
blog. Find out more about social networking in Chapter 12.
Debunking Blogger Myths
The following Blogger myths can be found circulating the Internet in online
conversations, but they hold little to no validity:
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13Chapter 1: Choosing Blogger as Your Blogging Software
✓ Blogger is too frequently unavailable. In the past, users complained
that the Blogger software would “go down” too frequently, meaning
that it was unavailable to users who wanted to update their blogs and
to readers who wanted to read those blogs. Since Blogger has moved
completely into the Google infrastructure, the system has become more
stable and more reliable.
✓ Blogger deletes blogs haphazardly. Users also complained about their
blogs suddenly disappearing altogether. Many users who suffered this
fate discovered their blogs were temporarily or permanently deleted
due to potential policy infringements, covered in Chapter 18.
✓ Blogger offers very few features. Other blogging software programs,
such as WordPress, offer a wide array of added features, which makes
them superior to Blogger. Since Google purchased Blogger in 2007, new
features are added all the time to make Blogger more competitive with
✓ Blogger is good only for beginner bloggers. The limited functionality
of Blogger created a reputation for the software as inadequate for power
bloggers. Google has invested time and money into enhancing Blogger’s
functionality so it remains easy to use but is more feature-rich. As such,
Blogger has become a blogging platform for both beginners and
Discovering the Benefits of Blogger
With so many blogging software options, what makes Blogger stand out?
Certainly, since Google purchased Blogger, the ease of integration with other
Google products and the enhancements that are constantly added to Blogger
make it a viable choice for any blogger. Perhaps the most enticing aspects of
Blogger are its simple point-and-click usability and its nonexistent price tag.
Following are some details about several benefits you’ll enjoy when you
You can safely assume that a beginner blogger or a casual blogger will be
intrigued by the free Blogger platform. Much of the popularity of Blogger can
be attributed to the old adage “Why pay for something when you can get it
for free?” In other words, why invest in another blogging software program
when Blogger can deliver the same features at no cost? To many bloggers,
this question is easy to answer, and Blogger is the obvious choice.
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14 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Of course, some bloggers prefer the advanced customization options that
other blogging platforms provide, but with advanced customization also
comes a price tag. You also generally need programming or coding skills
that many bloggers don’t know or aren’t interested in learning. Because blog-
ging applications such as WordPress rely on a variety of third-party plug-ins
to add functionality, the customization options are far greater than what
Blogger currently offers. However, most of that customization requires that
you pay for a domain name, additional disk space, hosting, and more. Each
blogger must define his blogging goals and determine whether paying to use
a blogging platform is necessary.
It’s easy to use
When it comes to blogging software programs, it doesn’t get much easier
than Blogger. Starting a Blogger account, customizing your blog, and writ-
ing and publishing your blog’s content are simple tasks, thanks to the basic
WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that requires no technical
knowledge to use as long as you’re familiar with the functionality of basic
word processing software. Although learning to use blogging software might
seem intimidating, Blogger takes away much of the challenges, allowing you
to become a confident member of the blogosphere!
It has loads of features
Blogger comes jam-packed with features and goodies for users. Unlike
other blogging software programs that require users to upload (or pay for)
additional features, Blogger has a wealth of built-in tools, such as Google
AdSense, feeds, polls, and slideshows. Chapter 8 covers many of these tools.
With the power of Google behind Blogger, new upgrades have been integrated
into the program that make blogging easier than ever. You can be certain that
Google isn’t done yet. More features are sure to be in the pipeline already.
You can keep on top of Blogger updates by reading the Blogger Buzz blog at
For users who want a more customized experience for their blog readers,
Blogger offers versatile domain and hosting options. Users can choose to use
their own domain names for their blogs (for example, MyBlog.com) rather
than traditional Blogspot addresses (for example, MyBlog.blogspot.com).
This option is popular for business bloggers and power bloggers who want to
create a seamless brand experience for their readers and customers.
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15Chapter 1: Choosing Blogger as Your Blogging Software
Additionally, bloggers can choose to host their Blogger blogs through a third-
party host rather than through Blogger. Although third-party hosting is an
added expense, some bloggers prefer it in order to provide maximum control
over their blogs. Read Chapter 16 for more information about third-party
hosts and domain names.
Blogger offers options for bloggers of all experience levels and with varying
blogging objectives. Whether you understand HTML (hypertext markup lan-
guage) or not (see Chapter 9 for more information about HTML), you can use
Blogger. Users also have a variety of blogging options available to them, such
as instant blogging, audio blogging through podcasts, mobile blogging (mo-
blogging), video blogging (vlogging), blogging by e-mail, and voice messaging
through their Blogger blogs. In short, Blogger makes it nearly impossible not
to blog! Get more details about multimedia blogging in Chapter 15.
Blogger also makes it quite easy for multiple authors to write for the same
blog. Adding and removing blog authors takes just a few seconds, making it
a helpful choice for people who want to start or expand their blogs to a mul-
tiuser format. Check out Chapter 14 to find out about multiuser blogging with
It can help you make money
Many bloggers are interested in monetizing their blogs. In other words, they
want to be able to make money (either passive or active income) through
their blogs. Some free blog platforms, such as WordPress.com, don’t allow
users to monetize their blogs. Blogger not only allows monetization — it also
encourages it, by making it incredibly easy through Google AdSense, one of
the most popular online advertising services.
Because Blogger is owned by Google, the same company that owns Google
AdSense, it’s not surprising that Google AdSense is integrated directly into
the Blogger program. With just a few clicks, Blogger users can insert Google
AdSense ads into their blogs and begin making money from them almost
Blogger users can also monetize their blogs through affiliate advertising,
direct advertising, sponsored reviews, and more. Certainly, as Google’s
online advertising initiatives grow, blog monetization opportunities for
Blogger users will also grow. The seamless integration of Google products
into Blogger sets it apart from the competition and makes it an excellent
blogging choice. Chapters 10 and 11 cover more ways to make money from
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16 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
It exposes you to the spirit of community
Blogger users make up a unique online community that shares a passion for
blogging and an interest in learning to use all the features and add-ons avail-
able through Blogger. As you grow your blog, networking with the Blogger
community can be an invaluable resource for you. A search on Technorati (a
popular blog search tool) returns numerous blogs that discuss Blogger (visit
http://technorati.com/blogs/tag/google+blogger for a current
list). No matter what problem or question you encounter, the Blogger com-
munity is readily available to help you navigate beyond any challenges that
might arise throughout your lifetime as a blogger.
Comparing Blogger to Other
Blogging Software Options
Blogger has changed significantly in recent years. New functionality is con-
tinually added to ensure that Blogger retains its position as market leader.
Other blogging software programs have come and gone with several threat-
ening Blogger, but the team behind Blogger continues to improve the product
by offering improvements and new technologies. The following list describes
some other blogging programs:
✓ WordPress: The biggest rival to Blogger is WordPress, which is known
for its wide variety of plug-ins and add-ons, such as contact forms, related
posts links, and sitemaps, that allow users to customize their blogs to
suit their individual needs. Blogger offers customization, but WordPress
wins the race in terms of giving users the most variety. The drawbacks of
WordPress are twofold:
• The free version is far more limited than the version that requires
users to pay for their own domain names and web hosting.
• The free version doesn’t allow users to monetize their blogs.
You can read WordPress For Dummies, 2nd Edition, by Lisa Sabin Wilson
(Wiley) for more information about WordPress.
✓ TypePad: Although TypePad is easy to use, it isn’t free. Users pay a
monthly fee to use TypePad. It offers a decent level of customization,
such as templates and design (although less than WordPress with paid
hosting), but its use comes at a cost.
✓ Moveable Type: The program’s biggest drawback is the expensive
licenses that users have to pay for in order to use it. The installation
process also isn’t as simple as in other blogging software programs, and
its features aren’t as vast. On the flip-side, it is extremely easy to add
multiple blogs to the same account with Moveable Type, which made
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17Chapter 1: Choosing Blogger as Your Blogging Software
it popular for team blogs in the past (although WordPress is gaining
ground in this market).
✓ LiveJournal: Users must pay a monthly fee to use LiveJournal, which
provides a limited number of features and customization options.
✓ MySpace: MySpace offers a blogging option, but it’s quite different from
Blogger and many of the other available blogging software programs
because so much of the success of a MySpace blog comes from the audi-
ence of MySpace members who become its “friends”. MySpace is more
of a social network (see Chapter 12 for more information on MySpace)
with a blogging platform included rather than a stand-alone blogging
software program such as Blogger.
✓ Xanga: Much like MySpace, Xanga is a social networking site with a blog-
ging option integrated into it rather than a stand-alone blogging software
program such as Blogger.
You can read more about the various blogging software programs in Blogging
For Dummies, 2nd Edition, by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley (Wiley).
Blogging with Blogger
Blogger has been around for a long time — longer than most other blogging
software programs. That means people are familiar with it and comfortable
with it. Because Blogger works with just about any Web browser, is available
in a myriad of languages, and is free to use, the barriers to entry are practi-
The first steps
Anyone can start a blog with Blogger right now and be a part of the blogo-
sphere in less than five minutes. It’s true. To start a blog using Blogger, you
only need to visit the Blogger home page, shown in Figure 1-2. Then follow
these three simple steps:
1. Create an account.
2. Name your blog.
3. Choose a template.
Naturally, navigating through the above steps and the steps that come after
you launch your blog (when you customize it and make it look and act the
way you want it to) require a bit more work. This book helps you move
through the process smoothly.
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18 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
The right tools
To start a blog with Blogger, you only need a computer and an Internet con-
nection. However, the more you blog, you might find that you want to experi-
ment with different blogging methods and capabilities. For example, you
might want to invest in a digital camera so you can take your own pictures
to upload in your blog posts. Alternatively, you might want to buy a digital
video camera and try your hand at video blogging. You can read Chapter 15
for more about blogging with different media.
The important thing to remember is that your blog will grow with you. Start
with the basics. As you become more comfortable with Blogger and with
blogging in general, don’t be afraid to test the waters and try new things.
Creating a podcast might sound impossible to you now, but the more you
blog, the more apt you are to jump in and learn something new to take your
blogging experience to the next level.
Don’t rush in and buy all the cool gadgets on Day One. Take your time to learn
and then decide which tools will help you meet your blogging goals. Blogging
success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience. None of those
tools is going anywhere.
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In This Chapter
▶ Starting a blog
▶ Establishing goals
▶ Choosing a topic
▶ Finding blogs
▶ Growing your blog
▶ Making money through your blog
▶ Blogging secrets
After you decide to start a blog, you need to think about some things
before you dive into the blogosphere. First, what is the blogosphere?
Second, what do you do next? This chapter breaks down some of the early
steps you need to take and the concepts you need to understand before you
can start your new blog. Although starting a blog is easy with Blogger, you
have to tackle some upfront considerations first. For example, you need to
determine what you’re going to blog about, and you need to find out more
about how the blogosphere works by finding and reading other blogs, under-
standing the unwritten rules of blogging, and so on.
Don’t worry: These considerations aren’t mind-boggling. In fact, they’re quite
simple. A bit of time spent now making the right choices for you will make
your blogging efforts more productive, enjoyable, and successful.
Starting a Blog
From your neighbor next door who shares her joy of knitting to big companies,
celebrities, and everyone in between, it seems that every person reads blogs,
knows someone who writes a blog, or writes their own blog. As of November
2008, Technorati, the original blog search site, was tracking 112.8 million blogs.
That’s a lot of blogs, and that means a lot of people are blogging.
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20 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Deciding to start a blog is easy enough, but it’s important to understand that
the decision means more than just writing some posts that you can point
your friends to online. Blogging can have far-reaching effects — some good
and some bad. Make sure that you fully understand what those effects are
before you start writing and publishing content on your blog. Successful
bloggers know who else is blogging and what it means to be a member of the
blogosphere. Read on to find out more about the phenomenon of blogging.
Joining the blogosphere
Did you know that bloggers who actively publish content to their blogs oper-
ate in an online community called the blogosphere? When you start your blog,
you automatically become a member of the blogosphere community. As a
member of the growing social Web, you can express your thoughts and opin-
ions, interact with like-minded people, and more simply by writing your own
blog, responding to comments left on your blog, and even leaving comments
on other blogs that you enjoy reading.
Truth be told, as a member of the blogosphere, you have the ability to decide
what role you want to play in that community. You can play a role in the blo-
gosphere by passively reading blogs, commenting on blogs or writing a blog
as a blogger. In fact, bloggers come in all shapes and sizes and with differing
views and passions, but it’s the blogosphere that allows them to connect
easily with each other through the commenting feature found on just about
every blog. Blogging is now an integral part of popular culture, with blogs
existing to discuss just about any topic you can imagine. You can find out
more about how to find blogs of interest to you later in this chapter.
A Who’s Who of the blogosphere
The following list is just a small sample of well-
known names attached to blogging:
✓ Celebrities with blogs: Wil Wheaton,
Pamela Anderson, Barbra Streisand,
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Rosie O’Donnell, John
Mayer, Kanye West, Curt Schilling
✓ Companies with blogs: General Motors,
Google, Dell, Southwest Airlines, Boeing,
Ford, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Wal-Mart
✓ Politicians with blogs: Barack Obama,
Hillary Clinton, John McCain, John Kerry,
Ralph Nader, Howard Dean
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21Chapter 2: Welcome to the Blogosphere
Knowing why people blog
With millions and millions of people blogging, there are many reasons
that people choose to blog. There really is no wrong reason to start a blog,
because the entire purpose of each person’s blog is entirely her own choice.
With the ease of use of Blogger, it’s not surprising that over 14 million
Blogger blogs were active as of June 2008. Check out some of the reasons
why people blog:
✓ For fun: Many people write blogs just for fun. Whether they just want to
share ideas and thoughts with friends and family or simply want a cre-
ative outlet to talk about a subject they love, a large number of bloggers
write their blogs as a hobby.
✓ To help people or make a difference: Many blogs are written with the
intention of educating people about a topic or changing the way people
think about a topic. Whether these bloggers want to influence political
views or share tips for parenting, the possibilities for these types of
blogs are endless.
✓ To establish yourself as an expert in a specific field: Many people write
blogs to develop a reputation in their fields as someone with unique
expertise. By establishing yourself as an expert or at least as someone
who is knowledgeable in a specific field, you can open doors for new
opportunities in career advancement and more.
✓ To build a business: Businesses often start blogs to not only build
awareness but also meet customer needs and increase customer loyalty.
The goal for business blogs is typically to provide content that makes
customers feel valued, which should translate into sales.
✓ To make money: A large number of people start blogs as simply a way
to generate a passive income from blog advertising and other blog
Understanding the pros and
cons of blogging
Your words can live online for a long time. When you publish something on
your blog, anyone with Internet access can see it. If you enable comments
on your blog, people all over the world can also respond to what you publish,
and you might not like what they have to say. Those are just two of the
drawbacks of blogging.
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22 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Blogging can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it gives you the oppor-
tunity to share your opinions with others and find like-minded people to
network with. On the other hand, it exposes you personally to the world. Of
course, finding personal information about almost anyone through simple
online searches is fairly easy these days, so trying to remain anonymous
online is difficult. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of what you publish
online, because you never know who might be reading it now or in the future.
For example, that picture of you and your coworkers partying in the boss’s
office that you publish on your blog today could be found by a future hiring
manager five years from now when you’re looking for a new job.
Be careful what you publish on your blog. What you publish today can still be
found through online searches in the future, and you never know who might
Blogging can also bring new opportunities to you. As your online presence
grows and people within and outside the blogosphere get to know who you
are, it’s quite possible that new career, volunteer, or interview requests
might come your way. However, each of these opportunities brings its own
set of pros and cons in terms of the amount of time they require compared to
the rewards they bring.
One of the best parts of blogging is developing relationships with your readers
and other bloggers. It’s possible to connect with people through your blogging
efforts who could have a big impact in your personal life or your career.
Establishing Goals for Your Blog
Before your fingers touch your keyboard to enter the Blogger URL and start
your first blog, you need to take some time to decide what you want to do
with your blog after you start it. Consider the following questions:
✓ Why do you want to start a blog?
✓ How much time do you have to spend updating your blog each week?
✓ Do you want to make money from your blog?
✓ Do you want to grow a large audience for your blog?
✓ Are you prepared to commit to blogging long term?
By answering these questions, you can start your blogging experience on
the right foot. For example, if you simply want to start a blog to share news
about your family with your friends and extended relatives, you don’t need to
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23Chapter 2: Welcome to the Blogosphere
consider blog advertising and promotion as you create your blog. However,
if your goal is to develop a strong online presence to launch a business, blog
promotion should be a top priority. Defining your goals for your blog early
allows you to not only prioritize your development efforts but also work effi-
ciently by eliminating unnecessary steps.
Choosing a Topic
What you write about on your blog is 100 percent up to you. No one can tell
you what to write about (as long as your content follows the Blogger and
Google terms of service). You have complete creative control!
Heather Armstrong gets fired for blogging
In 2001, Heather B. Armstrong (born Heather
Hamilton) started the blog Dooce.com, where
she wrote honestly and openly about her life,
family, and job. A year after Dooce.com was
born, she was fired from her job because of
her blog’s content. In the end, Heather won,
because her blog skyrocketed in popularity
after her firing. In fact, her story and blog grew
so popular that the site became part of pop cul-
ture lexicon. Even now, when a person is fired
because of the content on his blog, it is said that
he was “dooced.”
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24 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
The first thing to remember when you choose your blog topic is that you
need to write about that topic a lot. If your blogging goals include blogging
about your topic for a long time, make sure to pick a topic that you’re pas-
sionate about. Successful blogs are updated frequently (often several times
a day) with fresh content that keeps readers interested. Again, depending on
your blogging goals, you need to make sure that you have enough to say to
keep your blog going.
Although it’s important to pick a topic you’re passionate about, it’s equally
important to avoid topics that you feel too strongly about.
Blogging is all about building a community of readers around your blog who
will join in the conversation through comments. If you’re overly sensitive
about your blog’s topic, it’s difficult to allow your readers to comment freely
with differing opinions.
Popular Blog Topics
Not sure what your blog should be about? Check out these popular blog topics to help spark some
Animals and pets
News and current events
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25Chapter 2: Welcome to the Blogosphere
Because blogging requires frequent posting, make sure that you choose a topic
you enjoy researching. Coming up with new and entertaining content can be
challenging for even the most seasoned bloggers. You need to make time to
research other blogs, current events, and more in your blog’s subject area to
build relationships and find new content when you face blogger’s block.
As you decide on your blog topic and define your blogging goals, you should
take some time to start reading a variety of blogs to not only find others that
you like to read but also get a better idea of what works. A number of blog
search engines can help you find blogs and blog posts about specific topics,
including the blog search function offered by Google or IceRocket. However,
the biggest blog search site is Technorati.
Figure 2-1 shows the Technorati advanced search page, where you can
search for blogs and blog posts containing certain words, phrases, or tags.
Start researching blogs of interest. Visit those blogs and leave comments to
start building relationships with those bloggers. These efforts will help you
not only develop your own blog and its content but also grow your blog.
to find blogs
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26 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Growing Your Blog
When you define your blogging goals, you need to determine how big you
want your blog to be. In other words, you need to determine how much time
you have to commit to blogging in order to write and promote it in such a
way as to meet those goals. Blogging with Blogger requires little to no mone-
tary investment, but it does require a time investment that correlates directly
with how successful your blog will become.
Blogs don’t draw thousands, or even hundreds, of visitors overnight
(although that would be nice). If you write compelling content with search
engine optimization (using tricks to help people find your post through
keyword searches on popular search engines like Google, as discussed in
Chapter 13) in mind and promote your blog through social networking and
relationship building, your blog will grow. Chapters 12 and 13 discuss how
to drive traffic to your new Blogger blog. If you want to become a successful
blogger, spend some time reading those chapters and experimenting with the
techniques they describe.
Making Money from Your Blog
Many people start blogging for one reason — to make money. If you’re one
of those bloggers whose ultimate goal is to earn money from your blog, you
should know upfront that generating a profit takes time. As your blog traffic
grows, the opportunities for you to make money will also grow.
Think of your blog as a business. If customers don’t come through the door,
you won’t make any money. The same is true of earning potential on a blog.
If visitors don’t come to your blog, no one can click on your existing ads.
Furthermore, new advertisers won’t want to pay to advertise on your blog
because no one will see their ads.
Start your blog now, but be patient. As you drive traffic to your blog, more
revenue-generating opportunities will arise. In the meantime, read Chapters
10 and 11 to learn about blog monetization options and start putting together
a plan that you can implement as your blog traffic increases.
The Secrets to Blogging Success
Suppose that you have plenty of patience and time, and now you need to
know how bloggers can turn that patience and time into money. Believe it or
not, there isn’t a secret recipe for success. Truly, success comes from
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27Chapter 2: Welcome to the Blogosphere
commitment, time, and possibly a bit of luck. You never know when your
blog might get picked up by a major news portal that can attract a lot of atten-
tion to it and possibly give your blog a big boost. Sometimes, success is a
matter of being in the right place at the right time — the nearby sidebar “Perez
Hilton’s lucky break” describes one celebrity blogger’s rise to stardom. However,
for most bloggers, success comes with persistence. Here are some tips:
✓ Pick a topic people are interested in. The potential size of your blog’s
audience is directly related to the number of people who are inter-
ested in the topic you’re writing about. However, you should know
that just because you pick a popular topic doesn’t mean that your blog
will receive a flood of visitors. You also have to pick a blog topic that
isn’t already covered repeatedly online. If you do pick a topic that has
already been overdone, make sure to put a unique spin on your content
so that it stands out in the crowded blogosphere.
Perez Hilton’s lucky break
Mario Lavandeira started his first celebrity
gossip blog in 2004. Within six months, his lucky
break came, when his blog was referred to as
Hollywood’s most hated Web site by the TV
show The Insider. He adopted the pseudonym
Perez Hilton and changed his blog’s domain
name to www.PerezHilton.com. His blog
(shown in the following figure) continues to be
one of the most successful celebrity gossip
blogs online, and he has found fame outside the
blogosphere, through television appearances
and more. It all started with a blog topic that
people were interested in and a blogger who
wasn’t afraid to take risks.
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28 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
✓ Pick a topic you’re passionate about. Remember that because success-
ful blogs are updated frequently, you have to write about your blog’s
topic continually and for a long time. Make sure that you have the stam-
ina to stick with it.
✓ Be social. This is the biggest key to blogging success. From the tone of
your blog posts to your responsiveness to comments posted on your
blog and e-mail sent to you based on your blog’s content, you need to be
friendly and constantly work to build relationships. Those efforts don’t
stop on your own blog. You also need to visit other blogs and leave rele-
vant comments, visit forums, join user groups, and more to get the word
out about your blog and build relationships with other bloggers.
✓ Keep learning. Successful bloggers never stop learning about new blog-
ging tools and concepts, their blog topics, and their audiences. The
more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to take your
blog to the next level.
✓ Take risks. Don’t be afraid to be creative. Try new blogging features and
functions, inject some unique content into your blog posts, or change
the layout of your home page. You never know what might work. Just
make sure to track the results so that you know what works (and what
doesn’t work) to bring you closer to meeting your goals.
Every blogger has her own definition of blogging success. Before you start
your blog, define your success metrics. Do you want to get specific results,
such as sales or business contacts? Do you want to attract a certain number
of visitors? Do you want to make a certain dollar amount from your blog?
Do you want to network and build relationships and create an online pres-
ence that leads to other opportunities? Or do you simply want to have fun?
Write down your blogging goals and return to them every few months to see
whether you’re on track to meeting them, whether you need to make some
changes to get there, or whether you want to rewrite them completely. Only
then can you find and achieve your own blogging success.
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In This Chapter
▶ Identifying basic blog elements
▶ Getting acquainted with Blogger terminology
When you enter the blogosphere, you enter a world filled with its own
jargon and buzzwords. To make matters more confusing, many terms
in the blogosphere have multiple meanings or multiple names, depending
on the blogging software a person uses. In truth, the nuances in names and
meanings are less daunting than they might first appear to be (for example,
you say “blogroll,” I say “links.”) The important thing is to understand basic
blogging terminology and the language of Blogger users so that you can start
your first blog.
The main features that separate a blog from other types of Web sites are its
time-stamped entries, archived entries, and comments. Most blogs incorpo-
rate these same basic features and more. Depending on your likes, dislikes,
or needs, you can add, delete, or modify features to display on your blog.
Chapters 5, 7, and 8 show you how to set up and manage your Blogger blog in
detail. In fact, each of the blog images in this chapter is a screen shot taken
from the sample blog I created in order to describe the elements presented
throughout this book. You hold in your hands, therefore, all the help you
need in order to see how to create a blog like the one shown in this chapter.
Picking a Template
When you visit a blog, one of the first things you probably notice is the
layout of that blog. The colors, fonts, and design elements of a blog are
preconfigured in a template (also called a theme). Blogger users can choose
from a variety of free templates offered directly by Blogger software, or they
can upload templates from a third party. A multitude of Web sites and Web
designers provide free and paid custom templates to Blogger users, to help
make their blogs look distinct and function in a specified way. Figure 3-1
shows a sample of free templates provided by Blogger software.
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30 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Each template is laid out using one, two, or three columns as well as a header
and footer. The header typically includes the title of the blog and a top navi-
gation bar for visitors to access different pages or links. The footer usually
displays the template designer’s name and any copyright information. The
columns are used to hold blog posts, links, ads, and more. Depending on
which template you use, you can customize your blog’s appearance to meet
your needs and goals. Templates are discussed in detail in Chapter 7.
Making a Home Page
A blog’s home page is similar to the home page of a Web site — it’s the main
landing page, or starting point, of the blog. In other words, it’s the welcome
page for your online presence. Figure 3-2 shows a sample home page from a
A blog home
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31Chapter 3: Blogging Basics and Buzzworlds
Your home page is the main page of your blog, where your most recent con-
tent is usually found. Entries appear on the home page in reverse chrono-
logical order — typically, in the largest column of the blog template. On the
home page, visitors can easily find links to your blog’s other elements, such
as your author profile, blog archives, and blog ads. You can read more about
the home page in Chapter 5.
A cluttered or poorly designed home page can have a negative effect on your
blog and can even drive away visitors. Take some time to create an inviting
home page that is easy to navigate and includes elements and features that
help your readers.
Creating a Profile
Many bloggers overlook the importance of creating an informative author
profile (also called an About page) on their blogs. When visitors discover your
blog, they most likely want to find out who is writing the content. They may
wonder what the author’s credentials are or what background or experience
the author has that leads her to write content that the reader either likes or
Because a critical aspect of successful blogging is creating relationships, you
should write a thorough profile that helps readers understand why you are
the person to be writing this blog. Your profile page should include informa-
tion about the purpose of your blog as well as your experience and contact
information. Figure 3-3 shows an example of a well-written profile page. You
can find out more about setting up a profile in Chapter 5.
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32 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Don’t hide your profile page. Make it a prominent part of your blog so that
visitors know who you are.
Filling the Sidebar
Depending on your blog template’s layout, you might have two or three side-
bars flanking or to the right or left of your main blog post column. You can
easily fall into the trap of cluttering your sidebars with ads, links, and other
elements. Although your sidebar is a useful place to put ads and links to
other blogs and Web sites you like, it doesn’t add much value to your readers
if they can’t find anything between the clutter.
Consider what your goals are for the space in your sidebar. If you want to
maximize your revenue-generating potential through that space, place just
a few ads at a time and then analyze their performance to see which ones
deliver the results you require. Publish the best-performing ads and sub-
stitute poor performers with new ones until you find the best mix. Use the
remaining space on your sidebar to provide useful links and information for
your readers. You can see a sample sidebar in Figure 3-4.
Don’t be afraid to leave much of your sidebar empty. White space provides
welcome visual relief on text-heavy blog pages.
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33Chapter 3: Blogging Basics and Buzzworlds
Following are seven of the most common sidebar elements:
✓ A link to your About page or a short bio
✓ Your picture
✓ Your contact information
✓ A list of links to other blogs (also called a blogroll)
✓ Links to your blog archives
Each entry that you write and publish on your blog is a post. Posts are
arranged in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent post
at the top of your blog’s home page. Older posts are archived (typically by
date), so they’re easily accessible by readers.
Your posts are the lifeblood of your blog. They not only take up the majority
of the space on your blog but also help visitors find your blog. They’re also
the reason people return to your blog. If you continually update your blog
with fresh posts, readers always have something new to see and read.
If your visitors like what you have to say, enjoy your writing style, and feel
welcome (for example, they feel comfortable leaving comments, which
you respond to in a timely and respectful manner), they return frequently.
They’re also likely to tell other people about your blog and link to it from
their own blog (if they have one), leading to more traffic for you.
Blog posts are made up of these six basic elements, which you can see in
action in Figure 3-5:
✓ Title: The titles of your blog posts serve two purposes. They entice visi-
tors to read the full post, and well-written post titles help people find
your blog from keyword searches on search engines such as Google.
✓ Post date: The date you publish your post to the Internet appears as
part of your blog post entry. The date is important to visitors who like
to see that a blog is updated frequently. It can also help when someone
stumbles on one of your old posts by showing them when the post was
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34 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
✓ Author byline: The author byline is particularly helpful for blogs writ-
ten by multiple people. The author byline can link to your About page or
profile to provide one-click access to your bio for readers.
✓ Images or videos: Images and videos provide visual appeal, as well as
interactivity, to a blog. They can further demonstrate a point you make in
a post and when named well, can help with search engine optimization.
✓ Backlinks: Backlinks provide a virtual shoulder tap to other blogs and
Web sites that you link to in your blog posts. They also provide a way
for readers to find more information about a topic discussed in your
✓ Comments: Comments are the pulse of a blog. When readers leave com-
ments on your blog posts, conversations start that can be especially
powerful. Highly interactive blogs are typically quite successful.
You can find out more about writing your first blog post in Chapter 6.
Title Post date
Backlinks Comments Author byline
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35Chapter 3: Blogging Basics and Buzzworlds
Interacting with Comments
Comments are the lifeline of a blog. Because blogging, at its core, is meant
to be a social medium, the conversation that happens on a blog shouldn’t
be one-sided. Comments bring to life the interactivity and relationships that
blogging is all about. Figure 3-6 shows how comments look on a blog post.
People like to feel involved. Allowing comments on your blog posts invites
visitors to join the conversation and makes them feel like you value their
opinions. It also makes them feel like they’re part of a larger community of
people who enjoy reading your blog and sharing ideas.
Don’t ignore your visitors. Take the time to interact with them by responding
to their comments.
As your blog grows, visitor comments will increase, as will the conversation
and community around it. With reader interaction, though, often comes prob-
lems. Remember that it’s your blog and that you have the right to moderate
comments as you feel it’s appropriate. Check out Chapter 9 for details about
Comments on a blog post
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36 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
A backlink is a virtual tap on the shoulder from another Blogger blog, letting
you know that someone else wrote about your blog post and included a link
to drive traffic your way. A backlink can be published beneath a blog post
when another blog links to that post. Figure 3-7 demonstrates how backlinks
look when they’re published on a blog post. Blogger doesn’t automatically
allow backlinks to display on blog posts, but including them is an important
way to help you develop relationships with other bloggers and to find out
how visitors are finding your blog.
Don’t forget to turn on backlinks for your blog! You can find out how in
Backlinks on a blog post
Blogger uses labels to categorize blog posts. Your visitors can click on a label
of interest to find more posts categorized by using that label. You can also
add a list of labels to your blog’s sidebar sorted by frequency of use or alpha-
betically, shown in Figure 3-8, which is a quick and easy way for visitors to
find posts about subjects of interest to them. Labels are described in detail in
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37Chapter 3: Blogging Basics and Buzzworlds
Take time to label your posts strategically to help readers find your older blog
posts. Think like you’re one of your readers. How would you search for a spe-
cific blog post? Use intuitive labels so your readers can easily locate related
Adding a Footer
A blog footer typically includes copyright information, a link to the blogger’s
e-mail address, contact information, and sometimes a link to the blog design-
er’s e-mail or Web site. The footer is located at the bottom of the blog page.
Many bloggers use their blog footers as places to add extra advertising or
links to monetize their blogs or provide quick links to posts and Web sites
for their readers. You decide which elements you want to add to your blog’s
Archiving is an automatic feature that’s inherent to blogs. Each post you
write is automatically archived (saved) by date by the Blogger software.
Archives help to make a blog easier to navigate. The most current content
can be read on the home page or by clicking through to the first several
pages of content, whereas the archive links can appear in the blog’s sidebar
for quick access to older content. Figure 3-9 shows how archives can look on
a blog’s sidebar.
Archives are useful for search engine optimization as well. Because all con-
tent published on your blog lives forever (or until you delete it), that equates
to many, many possible entry points for people to find your blog on search
engines. Chapter 5 discusses archiving in more detail.
Imagine how many entry points some of the most prolific bloggers have. Think
of it this way: If you publish one post per day for an entire year, that’s 365
entry points for your blog. Multiply that number by five years, and your blog
has 1,825 entry points. What if you published a post three times per day for
five years? That gives you 5,475 entry points!
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38 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
Building Relationships with Links
Blogger refers to blogrolls as links. Many bloggers include blogrolls in their
blog sidebars, which display a list of links to other blogs that they like. See
Figure 3-10 for a blogroll example. Blogrolls are a helpful way to build rela-
tionships with other bloggers because the blogrolls are typically reciprocal:
If you add a blog to your blogroll, that blog’s author is likely to add your blog
to his blogroll. The more blogrolls your blog is listed on, the more possible
ways visitors can find your blog, which leads to more traffic. You can find out
more about links and blogrolls in Chapter 8.
Keep your blogroll current. Check the links every few months to ensure that
they still work. A blogroll filled with outdated links isn’t useful to your readers
or to your blog promotion efforts.
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39Chapter 3: Blogging Basics and Buzzworlds
Including Subscriptions and Feeds
Many blogs include a subscription section that says “Subscribe to my feed”
(or similar wording) with a link to a page where visitors can sign up to read
your blog’s feed in a feed reader or receive it by e-mail. Figure 3-11 shows an
example of how a subscription link might look on a blog created with Blogger.
Blog feeds are syndicated by Atom or RSS (Really Simple Syndication). A blog
feed is simply a syndicated version of your blog’s content, similar to a news
feed or stock ticker scrolling on the bottom of a television news screen.
Readers can save time by subscribing to feeds of blogs they enjoy. Rather
than visit each blog to find and read new content, a subscriber can simply
log in to her preferred feed reader, such as Google Reader, and see — in one
place — the most recent posts for all blogs she subscribes to. Alternatively,
she can receive the most recent posts by e-mail for each blog she subscribes
to. Subscriptions and feeds are covered in detail in Chapter 9.
People who subscribe to your feed are usually extremely loyal visitors.
A blog sub-
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40 Part I: Introducing Google Blogger
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08_407424-pp02.indd 4108_407424-pp02.indd 41 12/23/08 7:56:28 PM12/23/08 7:56:28 PM
In this part . . .
In this part, you find out how to create a Google account
and your new blog by using Blogger. Don’t be nervous —
blogging is easy after you dive in and get started.
Chapters 4 and 5 show you how to create your new blog
and configure the settings that should be in place before
you start writing a blog post. After you create your new
blog, you have to figure out what to do with it. That’s
where the remaining chapters of Part II come into play.
Chapter 6 shows you how to write and publish blog posts.
Next, you find out how to make your blog look good and
function just the way you want. Chapters 7, 8, and 9 spell
out how to change your blog’s template, add useful fea-
tures, get conversations going with comments, and track
your blog’s performance.
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In This Chapter
▶ Creating an account
▶ Choosing a domain name and a template
▶ Familiarizing yourself with the dashboard
▶ Signing in and out
Starting a free blog with Blogger is easy. There’s no need to worry about
finding and paying for Web site hosting, downloading or uploading soft-
ware, and paying to register a domain name. Blogger takes care of all those
administrative tasks for you. All you have to do is visit the Blogger Web site,
create a Google account, pick a blog name and a template, and you’re ready
to start blogging!
Taking Your First Steps
into the Blogosphere
Turn on your computer, open your Web browser, and get ready because
you’re about to join the blogosphere!
Creating a Google account
Before you can start a blog with Blogger, you need to create a Google account
to access the Blogger software.
To create your Google account (and Blogger blog), follow these simple steps:
1. Visit the Blogger home page.
Enter the URL www.blogger.com in your browser.
2. On the Blogger home page, click the Create Your Blog Now button,
shown in Figure 4-1.
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44 Part II: Using Google Blogger
The Create a Google Account page opens, as shown in Figure 4-2.
Click here to create a blog.
3. In the Email Address text box, type your e-mail address and then
retype it in the Retype Email Address text box.
The e-mail address you use doesn’t have to be for a Google Gmail
account. You can use any e-mail address to create a Google account to
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45Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger
access Blogger. The e-mail address you enter is the one you use to log in
to Blogger, and it’s the one to which Blogger sends your username and
password if you forget them.
4. Enter a password in the Enter a Password text box, and then reenter it
in the Retype Password text box.
You can change your password later, if you want. Google shows you,
just beneath the Enter a Password box, how strong your password is
after you enter it.
Make sure to use a strong password — one that includes letters and
numbers or special characters. Also, get into the habit of changing your
5. Enter your display name in the Display Name text box.
Your display name is shown at the bottom of each of your blog posts,
indicating that you’re the author of the post.
6. Type the letters displayed in the Word Verification box.
This security procedure ensures that new Google accounts are created
by human beings rather than by automated spam systems.
7. Select the check box in the Acceptance of Terms section to indicate
that you accept Blogger’s terms of service.
You can click the Terms of Service link on your screen to read the
8. Click the Continue button.
The Name Your Blog page opens on the Blogger Web site, as shown in
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46 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Choosing a domain name
Free blogs created by using Blogger software are hosted by Blogger’s
Blogspot hosting service. Therefore, the domain name you select for your
blog is followed by the .blogspot.com extension to create the complete
URL of your blog. When you reach the Name Your Blog page (refer to Figure
4-3), you need to select a title for your blog as well as a domain name to
precede the .blogspot.com extension. It can be hard to find an available
domain name that you like because so many are already taken. Take some
time to put words and phrases together that help readers understand what
your blog is about and that are easy to remember. Check out the nearby side-
bar, “Choosing a domain name.”
1. Enter the title of your blog in the Blog Title text box.
Your blog title appears at the top of your blog and gives visitors an idea
of what your blog is about. You can change your blog title at any time.
2. Enter the domain name that you want to precede the .blogspot.com
segment in the Blog Address (URL) text box, and then click the Check
Blogger has approximately 14 million blogs, which means that your
first blog address choice is likely not to be available. If necessary, try
different names until you find one that is available. Your blog name
and domain name don’t need to match. See the nearby sidebar
“Choosing a domain name” for tips on choosing a domain name.
What’s in a name?
Decide whether you want your domain name to
be obvious or creative. Because obvious names
are more intuitive, people can more easily find
and remember them. Creative names, on the
other hand, are unique and can stand out in
the overcrowded blogosphere. Here are some
tricks for choosing a domain name that works:
✓ Create a list of keywords and then mix them
up until you find a combination that you like
and that’s available.
✓ Make up a word.
✓ Add prefixes or suffixes, such as est or str.
✓ Add an article, such as a or the.
✓ Select words that people search for fre-
quently. Research popular keywords by
using a keyword-tracking site such as
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47Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger
3. Click the Continue button.
Bypass the Advanced Setup section of the Name Your Blog page for
now, unless you plan to host your blog through a Web host other than
The Choose a Template page opens, as shown in Figure 4-4. Third-party
hosting and domain names are covered in depth in Chapter 16.
Selecting a basic template
Blogger provides a variety of free templates to its users. When you reach the
Choose a Template page during the blog creation process, you’re presented
with a number of themes to choose from (see Figure 4-4).
To select a basic Blogger template, follow these steps:
1. On the Choose a Template page, use the scroll bar to view the avail-
able Blogger templates.
You can preview each template in a larger format by clicking the
Preview Template link beneath each template option.
2. Select the radio button beneath your chosen template.
This step tells Blogger which template you want to use for your new
3. Click the Continue button.
The Your Blog Has Been Created page appears, as shown in Figure 4-5.
You’re now an official member of the blogosphere.
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48 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Don’t worry too much about choosing just the right template when you’re first
creating your blog. You can easily change your template later to another free
Blogger template or to a third-party template. Learn more about changing tem-
plates in Chapter 7.
Joining the blogosphere
Welcome to the world of the social Web. After you’re an official member of
the blogosphere and you want to publish your first post, all you have to do is
click the Start Blogging button. The Create a Post page appears, as shown in
Figure 4-6. From this page, you can begin blogging. It’s that easy!
Don’t go too fast. Before you write your first post, click the Dashboard link in
the upper-right corner of your screen and take some time to understand how
Blogger works and see what it offers.
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49Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger
to write your
Getting Familiar with Blogger
As with any new software you want to use, you need to take some time to
understand what all the links, buttons, icons, and tools that are offered on
your screen can do for you. Most of the features provided by Blogger can be
accessed directly from the Blogger dashboard — it’s the first page that opens
when you sign in to your Blogger account.
Signing in to Blogger
You can access your blog’s dashboard at any time after you log into Blogger.
Figure 4-7 shows the Blogger home page, where you can sign in to your
1. Visit the Blogger home page.
To get there, enter the URL www.blogger.com into your browser.
2. Enter your username and password in the text boxes in the upper-
right corner of the page.
Use the e-mail address and password you provided when you registered
for your Google account and started your Blogger blog.
3. Click the Sign In button.
Your Blogger dashboard automatically opens, as shown in Figure 4-8.
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50 Part II: Using Google Blogger
in to your
Enter your username and password to sign in.
If you forget your username or password, you can click the question mark
link above the login fields on the Blogger home page or type the URL www.
blogger.com/forgot.g into your Web browser. This action opens the Forgot
Your Username or Password page where you can enter the requested
information to recover your username or password. Check out Chapter 18
for more information about recovering your username and password.
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51Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger
Introducing the Blogger dashboard
From your Blogger dashboard, you can access all the controls for your blog,
just like the tools to drive your car are located on your car’s dashboard. The
primary elements of the main Blogger dashboard are described in this list:
✓ Manage Your Blogs: This section lists your existing blogs with links to
each one, where you can write new posts, change the blog’s settings,
revise the blog’s layout, or even view the blog live online. Each of these
options is discussed in detail later in this chapter. You can also click the
Create a Blog link to start another blog that is then added to the Manage
Your Blogs section of the dashboard.
✓ Blogs of Note: The latest entries from Blogger blogs that you sign up to
follow (select the Add button to add blogs you like), the Blogger Buzz
blog, and blogs of note according to Blogger appear in the Reading List
section of your dashboard so that you can easily see the latest updates
and news of interest to you.
✓ View Profile, Edit Profile, and Edit Photo: These links open your About
page, where you can review and revise your bio that appears on your
blog. Profiles are discussed in detail in Chapter 5.
✓ My Account: This link opens your personal account page, where you
can modify your account information, such as your e-mail address and
✓ Mobile Devices: Follow the link in this area to begin mobile blogging.
Multimedia blogging is covered in depth in Chapter 16.
✓ Tools and Resources: You can access your Google AdSense and Google
Reader accounts directly from the Blogger dashboard. Read more about
Google Reader in Chapter 9 and about Google AdSense in Chapter 11.
✓ Help Resources: The online Help function for Blogger is quite useful.
Google Groups dedicated to providing help to Blogger users also exist,
which you can access by clicking the links in the Help Resources section
of the Blogger dashboard. You can also access help by clicking the link
in the Manage Your Blogs section or the link in the upper-right corner of
any Blogger account page.
You can also access the controls available from the Blogger dashboard from
tabs displayed as a navigation bar along the top of any Blogger page.
Entering and publishing posts
When you click the New Post link from the Blogger dashboard, a page auto-
matically opens where you can enter and publish a new post to your blog, as
shown in Figure 4-9.
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52 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Notice these tabs above the Title text box:
✓ Create: Write new posts to publish on your blog.
✓ Edit Posts: Modify posts that you already published on your blog.
✓ Moderate Comments: Manage the comments that readers leave on your
Read Chapter 6 for more details about writing and editing posts, and see
Chapter 9 for information about moderating comments.
Changing Blogger settings
The Settings tab, shown in Figure 4-10, gives you quick access to a variety of
tools that allow you to customize your blog to meet your needs.
From decisions about the way your posts are displayed to the way your posts
are archived, you can make the modifications you want on the Settings tab
✓ Basic: Change your blog’s title, add a description to display in your
blog’s header, make your blog public, show quick editing and e-mail
links, identify adult content, and more. These features are covered in
more detail in Chapter 5.
✓ Publishing: Modify your publishing settings if you want to switch from
Blogspot hosting to a third-party host. Read more about third-party
hosting in Chapter 16.
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53Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger
✓ Formatting: Configure date-and-time formats on your blog, time zone,
language, and more. Details are in Chapter 5.
✓ Comments: Choose whether you want to show or hide comments on
your blogs, determine who can leave comments on your posts, and
decide whether you want to display backlinks, enable comment modera-
tion and verification, and more. Chapters 5 and 9 explain these tools.
✓ Archiving: Select how often you want your posts archived and configure
post page settings. More information about archiving is in Chapter 5.
✓ Site Feed: Set up your blog feed. Read about feeds in Chapter 9.
What is OpenID?
variety of Web sites participate in the OpenID
system, which lets you select the OpenID
provider of your choice, such as Blogger, and
use your username and password associated
with that sole account in order to access
other participating OpenID sites across the
Internet. Rather than have to remember multiple
usernames and passwords and spend time
registering for numerous accounts at a variety
of Web sites, you can simply use your OpenID
identity to log in to Web sites participating in
When you start your Blogger account, you’re
automatically given an OpenID identity. You can
find your Blogger OpenID identity by selecting
the OpenID tab from the Settings section of your
Blogger dashboard. Alternatively, you can use
the OpenID system to restrict who can leave
comments on your blog posts, as described in
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54 Part II: Using Google Blogger
✓ Email: Set up Blog Send and Mail-to-Blogger addresses. Details are in
✓ OpenID: Configure OpenID settings for your blog. See the nearby side-
bar “What is OpenID?” to find out more about it.
✓ Permissions: Add authors and define who can read your blog. Chapter
14 provides information about multiuser blogs, and Chapter 5 explains
how to configure privacy settings on your blog.
Customizing your blog
One of the best upgrades to Blogger in recent years has been to the Layout
tab, shown in Figure 4-11.
Many tasks that used to require you to insert HTML code can now be com-
pleted by using the simple tools provided on the Layout tab, as described in
✓ Page Elements: Add, delete, or move the various elements of your
page — such as posts, archives, your profile, ads, and more — by using
a simple drag-and-drop system.
✓ Fonts and Colors: Make your blog your own by selecting the colors and
fonts you want to use for each element of your blog.
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55Chapter 4: Getting Started with Blogger
✓ Edit HTML: Back up your existing template, upload a custom template
from your hard drive, or restore an old template.
✓ Pick New Template: Select a new template from the free templates
provided by Blogger.
You can read more about fonts, colors, and templates in Chapter 8.
Signing out of Blogger
When you’re ready to leave Blogger and complete your blogging session, all it
takes is a click of a button. Figure 4-12 shows the Sign Out link, in the upper-
right corner of any page within your Blogger account. Just click the link and
you’re automatically logged off the Blogger site, and the Blogger home page
Sign Out link
to end your
Click here to sign out.
Always remember to sign out of Blogger when you’re done updating your blog,
to ensure that your blog and your account stay secure.
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56 Part II: Using Google Blogger
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In This Chapter
▶ Creating a profile
▶ Designing a home page
▶ Configuring settings and options
Before you dive into the blogosphere headfirst by writing your first blog
post, it’s a good idea to take some time to prepare your blog to make
a successful splash right from the start. If you want people to return to your
blog after they find it, you need to write interesting blog posts, of course, but
you also need to create a comfortable environment for your visitors. You can
accomplish this by writing a great profile that helps visitors understand who
you are and why you’re writing your blog. Additionally, designing a home
page that provides easy access to useful tools and information is equally
Blogger is loaded with options and settings that you can customize to make
your blog perform just the way you want. In this chapter, you’ll find out
about the many settings and options you should configure before you start
writing and publishing blog posts. Taking the time to set up your blog now
makes it easier for people to find your blog, and it makes those people more
likely to return.
Creating Your Profile
With millions of blogs online and more popping up every day, you have to
make sure that your readers know who you are and why you’re blogging.
Start a relationship with them immediately by sharing your story in your pro-
file, or your About page. Your profile can highlight information about you, the
purpose of your blog, your target audience, and anything else you want visi-
tors to know about you and your place on the Web.
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58 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Compare the profiles shown in Figures 5-1 and 5-2. The first shows a blank
profile that hasn’t been edited in any way since the blog was created. The
second shows a comprehensive profile that tells visitors about the blogger’s
qualifications. Which profile would make you feel more confident as a visitor
to read that blog and interact with the author? Hopefully, your answer is the
second, detailed profile.
to help visi-
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59Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
Be sure to include the following three pieces of information in your blog
✓ Your experience: Tell readers why you’re qualified to write about your
✓ Your contact information: Build a relationship with your readers by
making sure that they can contact you easily.
✓ Links to your other blogs or Web sites: Let readers understand who
you are not just on your blog but also as part of the blogosphere and
online community overall.
Your profile is your opportunity to sell who you are and what your blog is
about. Let your passion for your blog topic shine through in your profile.
Include information, links, and other elements to help visitors understand not
just who you are and why you’re writing your blog but also why your blog is
the place to visit online to find information about your blog topic.
Adding information to your profile
To create your profile, sign in to Blogger (Chapter 4 shows how), which
opens your Blogger account dashboard, shown in Figure 5-3. You can edit
your profile at any time, but you benefit greatly if you take the time to com-
plete as much of your profile as possible up front.
Click this link to edit your profile.
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60 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Click the Edit Profile link on the left side of your screen, which will take you
directly to the Edit User Profile page (see Figure 5-4).
tings on the
You don’t have to complete every field in the Edit User Profile page. Select the
areas that give your blog visitors enough information about you to make your
blog have meaning to them and position you as the right person to be writing
your blog. Your profile should be a virtual introduction and handshake. You
don’t have to give your résumé or life story, but you should share enough to
spark a relationship with your visitors. In other words, take the time to review
each section of the Edit User Profile page and make conscious decisions about
which sections you need to complete in order to provide a useful profile of
you to your readers.
Your profile appears not only on your blog’s Profile page but a snippet of the
first few sentences of your profile also appears in your blog’s sidebar. Put the
most compelling information at the beginning of your profile so it’s visible
in the sidebar. You should also understand that your profile can help your
search engine optimization efforts, which are described in detail in Chapter
13. Search engines crawl (review and index for future user searches) your pro-
file text, which can draw more traffic to your blog.
Editing privacy and identity settings
At the top of the Edit User Profile page, you have the option to edit your pri-
vacy and identity settings as shown in these steps:
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61Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
1. Select the Share My Profile check box to make your profile page
It’s entirely up to you whether you want other users to be able to view
your profile. Unless your blog is private, which is described later in
this chapter, make your profile public by selecting the Share My Profile
Be truthful, but not overly modest. Remember that your profile is basi-
cally a marketing tool to show readers why you’re qualified to write your
blog and why they should be interested in reading what you have to say.
2. Select the Show My Real Name check box to display your real name
on your profile page.
If you want your real name to be displayed in your profile for visitors
to see, select the Show My Real Name check box. Consider the purpose
of your blog as well as your audience to help you determine whether
it’s in your best interest to display your real name in your profile. Using
your real name can give your blog more credibility and helps to create
a stronger relationship between you and your readers. However, some
people prefer to omit their personal information from their blog profiles.
3. Select the Show My Email Address check box to display your e-mail
address on your profile page.
If you want other users to be able to see your e-mail address on your
profile, select the Show My Email Address check box.
4. Follow the Select Blogs to Display link after Show My Blogs to choose
which of your Blogger blogs you want to display on your profile page.
If you have other blogs attached to your Blogger account, you have the
option to display links to those other blogs on your profile by clicking
the Select Blogs to Display link and choosing which of your blogs you
want to show on your profile.
5. Enter in the Email Address box the e-mail address you want to display
on your profile page.
The e-mail address you enter to display on your profile page is the
address you want visitors to use to contact you. The address doesn’t
need to be the same as the e-mail address you use to sign into your
When you display your e-mail address as part of your profile, you pub-
licize it to everyone online, which means that e-mail spammers have
access to it. You might want to consider setting up a separate e-mail
account to display in your blog profile if you’re concerned about receiv-
ing spam through your primary e-mail account.
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62 Part II: Using Google Blogger
6. Enter your name in the Display Name box.
The name you enter here is the same as the name you use as the author
of your blog posts.
7. Enter your first name in the First Name box.
If you selected the Show My Real Name check box (refer to Figure 5-4),
the first name you enter in the First Name box is the first name dis-
played on your profile as part of your real name.
8. Enter your last name in the Last Name box.
If you selected the Show My Real Name check box (refer to Figure 5-4),
the last name you enter in the Last Name box is the last name displayed
on your profile as part of your real name.
Uploading a photo or an audio clip to your profile
Scroll down the Edit User Profile page to find space where you can upload a
photo or an audio clip to display with your profile and to configure more
personal information display settings (see Figure 5-5).
clip to your
1. Choose one of the following options in the Photo URL area to upload a
photo to display on your profile page:
• Click the From Your Computer radio button to upload a photo
from your local computer hard drive. Use the Browse button to
search for the photo you want to use.
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63Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
• Select From the Web if you want to use a photo that is stored
online in an account from a service such as Picasa or Flickr or that
has already been uploaded to the Web and has an existing URL.
The photo you upload to your blog profile can be any image you want.
Many bloggers upload their own portrait but others prefer to use a wide
variety of images from logos to landscapes and everything in between.
2. In the Audio Clip URL box, enter the URL of an audio clip that you
have already uploaded and want to play when your profile page
Many users don’t like blogs or Web sites that use sound and quickly
navigate away from blogs that startle them with loud or offensive music.
You might want to avoid adding an audio clip entirely. If you choose to
use one, consider your audience when you choose the sound for your
Creating interest by adding personal information
The next part of the Edit User Profile page gives you various options to add
personal information to your profile, such as your location (see Figure 5-6).
1. Click the appropriate radio button to display your gender on your
You can choose the Not Specified radio button to keep your gender
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64 Part II: Using Google Blogger
2. Enter your birth date in the Birthday fields.
You can display your birthday with or without the year, if you choose.
3. Select the Show Astrological Signs check box if you want your astro-
logical sign and Chinese zodiac sign displayed on your profile page.
This option works only if you enter your birth date, including your birth
year, in the Birthday fields.
4. Enter your Web site address in the Homepage URL box.
If you have another blog or Web site that you want visitors to have easy
access to, enter that URL in this box. It’s displayed prominently as My
Web Page with an active link on your profile page.
Follow these steps to change your location and other settings:
1. If you have a Google Shopping List, you can enter the URL in the
Wishlist URL box.
Google Shopping Lists are used to show other people products and
items you want or enjoy.
2. Enter your instant messenger ID in the IM Username text box and
click the drop-down box to pick the instant messenger service associ-
ated with that username.
If you want visitors to be able to send you instant messages, you can
enter your instant messaging username and service here.
If you display your instant messenger username in your blog profile,
you’re publicizing it to everyone with Internet access. That means spam-
mers also have access to it. Keep that in mind when you set up your
3. Enter your hometown in the City/Town text box.
If you want visitors to know which city or town you live in, you can enter
it in this box to display on your profile.
4. Enter the area where you live in the Region/State text box.
If you want visitors to know which region of the world or country you
live in (or your state), you can enter it here, and it’s displayed on your
5. From the Country drop-down box, select the country where you live.
If you want visitors to know which country you live in, select it here, and
it appears on your profile.
6. From the Industry drop-down box, select the industry you work in.
If you want visitors to know which industry you work in, select it here,
and it appears on your profile.
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65Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
7. Enter your job in the Occupation text box.
Some bloggers like to share their occupation with visitors. If this is
something you want your readers to know about you, enter your job
information, and it’s displayed as part of your profile.
8. Enter your interests in the Interests text box, separating each one with
You may want to share some of your personal or business interests with
your readers. If so, take some time to create a list to display as part of
9. Enter information in the About Me text box to describe who you are to
You can enter up to 1,200 characters in the About Me box to tell your
readers more about you and why you’re qualified to write your blog.
This is your chance to shine!
The About Me box is the area of your profile where you can sell your-
self and your blog. Take the time to write something interesting in your
About Me box.
Sharing a few of your favorite things
The final section of the Edit User Profile page, shown in Figure 5-7, allows you
to enter more personal information to share with readers.
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66 Part II: Using Google Blogger
1. Enter the names of movies you like in the Favorite Movies text box.
If you want to share some of your favorite movies with your readers, you
can enter the names of those movies in this box, and separate each title
with a comma.
2. Enter the names of bands or songs you like in the Favorite Music
If you want to share information about music you enjoy with your read-
ers, you can enter names of bands, CDs, artists, songs, and more in this
box, separating each one with a comma.
3. Enter the names of your favorite books in the Favorite Books text box.
If you want to share the names of some of your favorite books with your
readers, you can enter book titles in this box, separating each one with a
4. Enter your response to the Blogger randomly generated question in
the Random Question text box.
Just for fun, Blogger gives you a question that you can answer to share
a random piece of information with your readers, such as “What’s the
most amount of sand you’ve ever had in your swimming trunks?” or
“You’re trapped in a well with a goat and a slinky. Describe how you
will escape.” To get a new question, select the Give Me a New Question
check box and save your profile.
The information entered in the Interests, Favorite Movies, Favorite Music,
and Favorite Books text boxes becomes part of a searchable database within
Blogger. You can click on each unique entry in a Blogger user’s profile to find
other users who included the same entry in their profiles. It’s a helpful way to
find other bloggers with similar interests!
Designing Your Home Page
Your blog’s home page is a critical element of your blog. It’s your online wel-
come page and needs to be set up to make visitors feel comfortable as well as
give them quick and easy access to the various parts of your blog that they’re
most interested in and that you want to make sure they see. Before you pub-
lish your first blog post, take a few minutes to look at your blog’s layout to
ensure that all the elements you want visitors to see are easy to find.
Avoid cluttering your home page with too much information and too many
elements. Be sure that your design allows your readers to find the most valu-
able information and links. Follow these steps to pick and choose the page
elements you want to display on the home page of your blog:
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67Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
1. From the Blogger dashboard, click the Layout link for your blog.
This step takes you to the Page Elements page, shown in Figure 5-8.
On the Page
ize the tools
see on your
2. Select the Pick New Template tab from the top navigation bar and
choose the template you like from the Templates page, shown in
Figure 5-9. Make sure to click the Save Template button if you want to
switch to a different theme.
This step opens a page where you can view and select a Blogger tem-
plate for your blog. (The screen shots used in this chapter use the
Denim theme.) You can find out more about customizing templates in
3. Select the Page Elements tab from the top navigation bar to customize
your blog’s home page.
After your template is chosen, you can return to the Page Elements page
(refer to Figure 5-8) to select the elements and gadgets you want visitors
to see on your blog.
4. Click and drag page element boxes to move them around your page.
Moving elements on your screen moves them to new locations on your
5. Click Edit on any of the page element boxes to modify the appearance
of each individual page element.
For example, you can choose to revise your profile (the About Me page
element) directly from the Page Elements page by selecting Edit in the
About Me box and choosing the appropriate changes.
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68 Part II: Using Google Blogger
ance of your
6. Select Add a Gadget to choose from a list of gadgets you can add to
A new window opens where you can choose from a variety of gadgets
to further customize the appearance of your blog’s home page, as shown
in Figures 5-10 and 5-11. Specific gadgets are described in detail in
you can add
to your blog.
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69Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
on the Add a
dow to find
add to your
7. Click the Preview button to see how your changes will look, and
choose the Save button to save your changes when you’re happy with
the layout of your blog’s homepage.
Don’t be afraid to test different gadgets. Use the Preview button to see what
you like and don’t like. Everything can be customized, and nothing can be
viewed by visitors until you click the Save button.
Customizing Your Blog
One reason that Blogger is so easy to use is that users can customize their
blogs by visiting just a few pages from the Blogger dashboard and then
picking and choosing options and saving those choices. To start, just select
Settings from your Blogger dashboard. This action takes you to the Basic set-
tings configuration page, shown in Figures 5-12 and 5-13.
Publishing, configuring privacy,
editing, and composing
The Basic settings page is a page you shouldn’t skip when you start your new
Blogger blog. On this page, you can make your blog public or private, add
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70 Part II: Using Google Blogger
a blog description, change your blog title, and set up editing options. Take
some time to review each option shown in Figures 5-12 and 5-13 and config-
ure them as described in the following steps.
1. Enter a title for your blog in the Title text box.
If you want to change the title of your blog, this box is the place to do it.
The title you enter here appears in the header area of your blog.
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71Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
2. Enter a description for your blog in the Description box.
You can enter a description of as many as 500 characters in the
Description text box. Note that whatever you type in the Description box
appears beneath your blog title in the blog header area, so take some
time to write a useful description that not only describes what your blog
is about but also entices visitors to read more.
3. Select Yes or No from the Add Your Blog to Our Listings
When you select Yes, your blog is displayed occasionally on the Blogger
home page, on Blogger Play (a slide show of photos published on
Blogger blogs) and Next Blog (the navigation bar that appears at the top
of all Blogger blogs).
If you select No to the question Add Your Blog to Our Listings? within
your blog’s Basic Settings page, your blog is still available on the
Internet; however, Blogger rotates blogs in the Blogger listings and
displays links to those blogs on the Blogger home page, on Blogger
Play, and on Next Blog. If you want to attract additional potential traffic
from these Blogger listings, select Yes from the Add Your Blog to Our
Listings? drop-down menu.
4. Select Yes or No from the Let Search Engines Find Your Blog drop-
A helpful Blogger feature is automatic pinging at Weblogs.com
(http://weblogs.com) and automatic inclusion in the Google Blog
Search (http://blogsearch.google.com) results if you select Yes
from the Let Search Engines Find Your Blog drop-down menu. Pinging
is a behind-the-scenes function that automatically notifies sites such as
Google and Technorati whenever a blog is updated. By selecting Yes,
every time you update your blog you ensure that Google Blog Search
and search engines linked to Weblogs.com are notified that you pub-
lished new content, and that content is added to those search listings.
This strategy provides more traffic and more ways for people to find
5. Select Yes or No from the Show Quick Editing on Your Blog drop-
By selecting Yes, you enable one-click blog post editing. When you’re
signed into Blogger and viewing your blog online, you can select a link
directly from each blog post, which automatically opens a page where
you can edit that post.
6. Select Yes or No from the Show Email Post Links drop-down menu.
Selecting Yes places an Email Post link on each of your blog posts so
that readers can e-mail your posts to other people with one simple click
of the mouse.
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72 Part II: Using Google Blogger
7. Select Yes or No from the Adult Content drop-down menu.
If your blog contains content that might be considered inappropriate
for minors, select Yes from the Adult Content drop-down menu. When
people visit a blog that contains adult content, a warning message
appears, asking visitors to confirm that they want to proceed before the
blog content loads.
8. Select Yes or No from the Show Compose Mode for All Your Blogs
Unless you know how to use HTML, you should select Yes in the Show
Compose Mode for All Your Blogs drop-down menu. Doing so gives you
the option to write your blog posts using a What You See Is What You
Get (WYSIWYG) editor that acts more like a traditional word processing
program than a Web design program.
Formatting posts, times, dates,
You should set several formatting configurations before you start writing
and publishing blog posts, such as time, date, and language options. Select
the Formatting tab from the Settings navigation bar to display the Formatting
page, shown in Figure 5-14.
can be set
up on the
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73Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
Then follow these steps to configure how your blog posts are displayed to
1. Select the number of posts you want to display on your blog’s home
page by choosing these options:
• From the Show drop-down menu, select Posts or Days to display a
designated number of posts on your blog’s main page or a desig-
nated number of days’ worth of posts on your blog’s main page.
• In the Show box, enter the number of posts or days’ worth of posts
you want to display on your blog’s main page based on the setting
you selected from the Show drop-down menu.
The number of posts you show on your blog’s home page is entirely up
to you, but remember that people don’t like to scroll too much.
Displaying 5 to 10 posts (depending on post length) on your home page
is a common target to keep your blog readable.
2. From the Date Header Format drop-down menu, select in which
format you want the dates to appear on your blog.
This date appears at the top of your blog, above your posts, to remind
visitors what day it is.
3. From the Archive Index Date Format drop-down menu, select the
format of the dates used in the Archive Links page element on your
Older posts are automatically archived so they’re easily accessible from
the Archive Links page element in your blog’s sidebar. It’s up to you to
decide how you want your archived posts to display in your sidebar.
Choose the date format that you prefer by configuring the Archive Index
Date Format setting.
4. From the Timestamp Format drop-down menu, select the format you
want to use for the publication date for your blog posts.
A timestamp appears at the bottom of each blog post that tells readers
when each post was published. Changing the Timestamp Format alters
how that date appears on each blog post.
5. Select your time zone from the Time Zone drop-down menu.
Selecting the correct time zone ensures that your date header and time-
stamps synchronize correctly to your location.
6. Select your language from the Language drop-down menu.
Blogger is available in a variety of languages. Make sure that you select
the correct language for your blog.
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74 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Enabling comments and backlinks
One of the most important elements of a successful blog is the community
of readers that grows around it. At the heart of that community is a conver-
sation that occurs by way of comments left on your blog posts. With that
in mind, it’s essential that you set up the commenting feature on your blog
before you publish any content. Figures 5-15 and 5-16 show the Comment
configuration page accessed from the Comment tab within the Settings sec-
tion of the Blogger dashboard.
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75Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
The following settings should be configured up front:
1. Select the appropriate radio button to show (or hide, if you prefer)
comments on your blog posts.
The most popular blogs allows comments, so take some time to think
about your blogging goals before you decide whether you want to allow
people to comment on your blog posts. See the sidebar to learn more
about the importance of blog comments.
2. Select a radio button to configure the Who Can Comment option on
You can allow anyone to comment on your blog: only registered OpenID
users, only users with Google accounts, or only members of your blog
(people that you give access to read your blog on the permissions
Settings tab described later in this chapter, in the section “Assigning
3. Select a Comments Default for Posts setting from the drop-down menu.
Choose whether you want new posts to allow comments by default. You
can change this setting in the future for specific posts as described in
4. Select the appropriate radio button to show (or hide, if you prefer)
backlinks within the Comments section of your blog posts.
Backlinks appear as comments on Blogger posts and provide a “tap on
the shoulder” from another Blogger blog to you, showing that Blogger
blog linked to you in a published post. Backlinks are a helpful way to
develop relationships with other bloggers and find like-minded bloggers.
With that promotional opportunity in mind, most bloggers choose to
5. Select a Backlinks Default for Posts setting from the drop-down menu.
You can determine whether you want all new posts to allow backlinks
within the Comments section by default by configuring this setting. You
can change this setting in the future for specific posts as described in
6. From the Comments Timestamp Format drop-down menu, select the
way you want the time that comments are published on your posts to
display on your blog.
Each comment left on one of your blog posts is published along with
the time it was originally entered. Changing the timestamp format alters
how that time appears on your blog.
7. Enter a message to precede the Comment area in your blog posts in
the Comment Form Message box.
This message appears above the comment form on all your blog posts. It
can be used to invite people to comment on blog posts.
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76 Part II: Using Google Blogger
8. Click the Always, Only on Posts Older than 14 Days, or Never radio
button to enable Comment Moderation (refer to Figure 5-16).
Comment moderation is a helpful way to reduce spam comments on
your blog. As new comments are left on your blog posts, they appear on
your dashboard for you to review and approve before they’re published
for others to see. This technique gives you the opportunity to delete
spam or offensive comments. Read the later sidebar “Dealing with blog
comment spam” to find out more about blog comment spam.
9. Click the Yes or No radio button to indicate your preference for the
Show Word Verification for Comments option.
Word verification is an excellent way to block comment spam. Each
person who leaves a comment on one of your blog posts is given a
word to enter into the comment form in order to be able to submit that
10. Select whether you want to show profile images on comments by click-
ing the Yes or No radio button.
If you want other Blogger users’ profile pictures to be displayed with
their comments on your blog posts, select Yes. Otherwise, choose No.
11. Enter an e-mail address in the Comment Notification Email text box.
If you want to be notified by e-mail whenever a new comment is await-
ing moderation, simply enter your e-mail address in the Comment
Notification Email box, and an e-mail is sent to you automatically when
each new comment is submitted. You can enter as many as ten e-mail
addresses (separated by commas) in this field.
12. Click the Save Settings button to save any changes you made on the
Engaging your readers with blog comments
If blog posts are a blog’s heartbeat, blog com-
ments are the veins and arteries that keep
blood pumping to and from the heart of a blog.
Comments make a blog an interactive and social
medium. Show your readers that you value them
and their comments by responding promptly to
every comment left on your blog. Ask readers
to leave comments on your blog posts to invite
conversation, and then make an effort to keep
that conversation going. By engaging your
readers in conversation, you develop a strong
blog community of loyal visitors.
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77Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
Setting up archiving
If you want your readers to be able to access your old posts after the posts
are moved off your blog’s home page, you need to make sure that you config-
ure your archive settings before you start publishing content on your blog.
Figure 5-17 shows the Archiving page on the Settings tab in the Blogger dash-
find your old
Configure the following settings to set up your blog archives:
1. From the Archive Frequency drop-down menu, select how often you
want your blog posts to be archived.
Dealing with blog comment spam
Blog comment spam is typically defined as
comments left on blog posts for no reason other
than to drive traffic to a link provided in that
comment. Blog comment spam may include
nothing but links, or it can include an irrelevant
comment as well as one or more links. Note
that many people leave valid links in the com-
ments they publish on your blog posts. Be sure
to review each comment to identify which links
are valid and which are spam. By deleting spam
comments, you create a better user experience
for your readers.
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78 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Take a few minutes to decide how you want visitors to be able to access
your older blog posts. The setting you choose here affects how your
blog archives are displayed in your blog’s sidebar. Do you want visitors
to find your old posts by month, week, or day? Choose the setting that
creates the user experience you want on your blog.
2. Select Yes or No from the Enable Post Pages drop-down menu depend-
ing on whether you want each of your posts to have its own page
Most bloggers select Yes from this drop-down menu. Giving each blog
post its own page means that each post also receives its own permalink
(permanent link URL). This strategy makes it easy to find and link to
older content and gives more entry points for people to find your blog
by using search engines. Chapter 13 discusses search engine optimiza-
tion in more detail.
3. Select the Save Settings button to save any changes you made on the
You have to decide whether you want anyone with Internet access to be able
to read your blog or to allow only a certain group of people, such as friends
and family, to see it. This decision affects how you configure your blog per-
missions settings on the Settings tab of your Blogger dashboard, shown in
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79Chapter 5: Setting Up Your Blog
You can select from the following options to configure the privacy settings
for your blog:
1. Select the Permissions tab from the Settings navigation bar in your
2. Under the Blog Readers heading, choose your privacy settings by
selecting the appropriate radio button to determine who can view this
• Anybody: This setting allows anyone with Internet access to see
• Only people I choose: Enter e-mail addresses for the specific people
you want to invite to read your blog.
• Only blog authors: Only those people who have access to publish
content to your blog can view it online. Adding blog authors is dis-
cussed in detail in Chapter 14.
The decision to make your blog private or public is up to you and should be
a direct result of your goals for your blog. If you want to simply share your
thoughts, ideas, or photos with just a few people, creating a private blog is a
viable choice. However, if you want to grow your blog, increase traffic, and
make money from it, set your blog permission to allow anybody to view it.
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80 Part II: Using Google Blogger
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In This Chapter
▶ Considering your options before you write
▶ Creating your first blog post
▶ Adding graphics, links, and special formatting to your blog posts
▶ Configuring comments, backlinks, and settings in individual posts
▶ Finding, editing, and deleting old posts
After your new Blogger blog is set up, you’re ready to start writing your
first blog post and truly become a member of the blogosphere. Your
foray into the social Web is about to begin. Take a deep breath, put on your
creative thinking cap, and get ready to write.
This chapter tells you what to think about before and as you write blog posts.
It shows you how to enter your first blog post into the Blogger post editor
and publish that post as well as how to add links, photos, and other items to
your blog posts to make them visually appealing and easier to read.
Thinking Things Through
Writing blog posts can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be,
depending on your goals for your blog. If you write a blog for fun with no
long-term goals for driving traffic or making money from your blog, writing
blog posts requires little more than translating the thoughts in your head to
your keyboard and then online. However, if you want to grow your blog and
monetize it, you need to consider several issues before you write and publish
content on your blog. Determine your short- and long-term goals for your
blog to identify how to apply the following considerations to your writing.
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82 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Coming up with titles
The first thing visitors to your blog will notice about your blog posts are the
titles of those posts. With that in mind, you should consider a few issues as
you compose the title for each of your posts. Write titles that
✓ Arouse your readers’ curiosity: Just like an advertising headline, your
post title should lure readers in and entice them to want to read further.
✓ Are relevant to your readers: Web surfers are busy and have little time
to read deeply on any page to find content that matters to them. Write
headlines that are easy to understand, and make sure the post delivers
the content that the title suggests.
✓ Include searchable keywords: Search engines value blog post titles
strongly in terms of prioritizing your content for keyword searches. Be
certain to include important keywords in your post titles.
Using different formats for your blog posts
A blog post can be just a few sentences or many
paragraphs. Some blog posts include an image
and no text, whereas others might contain a
complete tutorial or an online lesson teaching
readers how to accomplish a task. Think about
your audience (or at least the audience you
want to have read your blog content) as you
write your blog posts and create content that
would appeal to them. The variety of blog posts
in the following list gives you a starting place to
help write your own blog posts.
✓ Current events: Write about something you
heard about in the news.
✓ How-to or tutorials: Share your expertise
in your blog topic by writing a tutorial or
instructions to help your readers accom-
plish a task or an activity.
✓ Interviews: Contact a prominent person
who works in a field related to your blog
topic and interview her for a blog post.
✓ Link love: Find interesting blog posts across
the blogosphere that are related to your
blog topic and publish a post that provides
links to those posts to help your readers
find new blogs and to help you connect with
✓ Lists: Write your top five tips or suggestions
or your top ten must-have products to help
your blog readers. Alternatively, write a list
of don’ts or a similar list of warnings.
✓ Opinion: Write a post that simply provides
your opinion on an issue or event.
✓ Photos: Post a photo related to your blog
✓ Polls: Ask your readers for their opinions by
publishing a blog post that includes a poll or
✓ Reviews: Write a review of a product, an
event, a book, or anything else related to
your blog topic.
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83Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
Considering search engine optimization
If you want to grow your blog by attracting new visitors, you should write
blog posts with search engine optimization in mind. Search engines such
as Google and Yahoo! love blogs simply because the content is updated fre-
quently. With each new blog post comes a new entry point and a new way for
a search engine to find your content. Take some time to research keywords
that are relevant to your blog topic, and then use those keywords in your
blog posts and titles. Each blog post you write should be optimized for a
specific keyword phrase, and all your keywords should be relevant to your
overall blog topic. You can learn more about search engine optimization in
Chapter 13. If you’re serious about growing your blog, invest time and effort
into finding out how to write for the Web with an eye toward search engine
Creating a Blog Post
When you sit down to create your first post for your new blog, don’t be ner-
vous. Once you dive in and start your first post, you’ll find that Blogger is
very easy to use. In fact, after you have a few posts written and published,
you may even wonder why you didn’t start blogging sooner! This section
walks you through creating and publishing a new post in Blogger step by step
so that you can become an active blogger immediately.
To engage readers, write in a Web-friendly style. Use a personable voice that’s
welcoming to readers. Use short paragraphs and lists to make your posts easy
to skim. Use formatting such as bold and italics sparingly to draw attention to
the most important information. It’s also effective to mix up the length of your
blog posts. Generally, shorter posts are more effective, but that doesn’t mean
you have to avoid long posts entirely. Offer your readers a variety of content
(including post lengths) to keep your blog interesting. To start a new post in
Blogger, follow these steps:
1. Sign in to your Blogger account and click the New Post link from your
If you created more than one blog, be sure to click the New Post link for
the appropriate blog. After you click the link, the Blogger post editor
appears (see Figure 6-1).
2. Think of a title and enter it in the Title text box in the Blogger post
3. Enter the body text of your post in the large box under the post editor
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84 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Title text boxToolbar
4. Use the Blogger post editor toolbar icons to add formatting such as
bold or italics, alignment, and bullets.
From the Blogger post editor toolbar (refer to Figure 6-1), you can
change the font used in the body of your post, change the font size,
bold or italicize your text, or change the color of your text. You can also
create hyperlinked text, change the alignment of your text, create num-
bered or bulleted lists, indent text as block quotes, and even check your
spelling. The various features of the Blogger post editor toolbar are dis-
cussed in greater detail later in this chapter, in the section “Formatting
5. Preview your post by clicking the Preview link on the blog post editor
As you type your new blog post, you can preview it to get an idea of how
it will look online after it’s published. Previewing a post is particularly
helpful in ensuring that your line breaks look good and image sizes are
appropriate, for example. Figure 6-2 shows how a post looks in the post
editor when the Preview link is clicked.
6. Click the Publish button to publish your post for the world to see.
A message appears (see Figure 6-3): “Your blog post published
successfully!” It means that your blog post is automatically — and
immediately — moved from your private account to the World Wide
Web and that everyone with Internet access can see it, assuming that
you set up your blog to be public, as described in Chapter 5.
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85Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
When you see the message that your blog post published successfully, a few
options are available to you (refer to Figure 6-3). You can view your new blog
post as it appears live on your blog by clicking the View Blog link, or click the In
a New Window link to open a new browser window to view your live post. Figure
6-4 shows how the new post example used in this chapter looks live online.
If you make a mistake or see something in your blog post that you want to
change, you can also do that by simply clicking the Edit Post link. Editing
posts is discussed at the end of this chapter, as part of the “Revisiting Old
An easy way to drive visitors away from your blog, never to return, is to pub-
lish blog posts filled with spelling errors. Although you might not be an excel-
lent typist or grammarian, it’s important to make an effort to proofread your
blog posts. Luckily, Blogger has a spell-check feature integrated into its blog
post editor. To check the spelling in your blog posts, simply click the Check
Spelling icon in the blog post editor. Blogger highlights in yellow any words
that are considered misspellings.
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86 Part II: Using Google Blogger
the top of
as the most
Saving with Auto Save
Blogger has a helpful Auto Save function that not only automatically saves
your blog posts periodically as you’re writing them in the blog post editor
but also allows you to perform quick saves without leaving the post editor.
To save your posts without leaving the post editor, simply click the Save Now
button at the bottom of the blog post editor page.
Make sure you save your blog posts periodically as you’re working on them in
the post editor. You never know when you might lose your Internet connec-
tion, and the work you’ve done could be lost.
Creating a draft post
Sometimes, you might be in the midst of writing a blog post when you’re
called away from it before it’s ready for publishing. Blogger provides an
option for you to save an incomplete post as a draft so you can return to it
later to finish it and publish it. To save a draft of a post, simply click the Save
Now button in the lower-left corner of the blog post editor), and then log out
of Blogger. Your post is saved as a draft, as shown in Figure 6-5.
To complete the post, simply click the Edit link next to the post title. The
post editor opens with that blog post in the same spot where you left it.
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87Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
A draft post.
Understanding copyright and fair use
In the simplest terms, copyright laws protect
photos, videos, and art. Every piece of text on
the Internet is protected by copyright laws.
However, it’s typically too expensive and too
time-consuming to sue bloggers for copyright
violation, so it’s not unusual to see bloggers
posting — without permission — text, photos,
videos, and other content that they don’t own.
However, that doesn’t mean a day won’t come
when bloggers will have to answer to a higher
power and remove all content on their blogs
that violates copyright laws.
Unless you obtain written permission from the
original source, don’t copy text or use photos,
videos, or other materials that don’t belong to
you. Citing your source or linking back to it isn’t
Obtaining permission to copy text or use some-
one else’s material on your blog is the safest
route to take if you want to avoid being accused
of copyright violation. However, every rule has
exceptions. Copyright laws are hazy and often
challenged, particularly in the area of copyright
law known as fair use. Basically, fair use tells
publishers (like bloggers) that you can copy an
excerpt of previously published text without
obtaining permission if the portion of that text
you copy is a small excerpt from the original
source and you provide attribution or if you’re
including your own editorial commentary or
critique with the text you’re copying.
Think of it this way: If your content were copied
by another blogger, how would you feel? How
much would the other blogger have to copy of
your original blog post for you to feel like your
content was stolen? Chances are that other
bloggers or writers feel the same way when you
copy their content for use on your blog.
Copyright laws are meant to protect the person
who did the work to produce the original piece.
Each time someone else copies the original
piece, the original author loses revenue (directly
or indirectly). Fair use laws give bloggers some
leniency, but they also create a gray area sur-
rounding copyright law that allows bloggers to
tread in waters dangerously close to copyright
violation territory. Err on the side of caution to
protect yourself, your blog, and your readers in
the long term.
Copyright laws protect you and your blog, too.
Don’t forget to include a copyright notice on
every page of your blog. If you select a Creative
Commons license to apply to your blog, you
can obtain the specific license and link directly
to the restrictions of use at www.creative
commons.org. The nonprofit organization
Creative Commons is dedicated to helping
content owners protect their work. A perfect
place to include a copyright message is in your
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88 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Adding Visual Interest
An important part of blogging is not just writing interesting content but
also enhancing your posts to make them aesthetically pleasing and easier
to read. You can achieve both goals by formatting your posts to be visually
appealing and including useful links and images that support your posts or
provide additional, helpful information. Formatting your posts and adding
images and links also play roles in search engine optimization, which is dis-
cussed in detail in Chapter 13. Many of the enhancement features available
in the Blogger post editor also make your life as a blogger a lot easier. From
autosaving a post to spell checking and postdating it, take some time to test
the various tools available to you in the Blogger post editor, as described in
Formatting text and layout
The majority of the icons on the Blogger post editor toolbar help you format
the text and layout of your blog posts. You can
✓ Choose a font: Just pick one from the Font drop-down menu.
✓ Choose the size of your text: Click the icon that has the large and small
Ts and the downward arrow on it.
✓ Make selected text bold: Click the icon with the b on it.
✓ Italicize selected text: Click the icon with the i on it.
✓ Change the color of text: Click the icon with the T and the color grid.
✓ Justify your paragraphs — left, right, center, or full: Use one of the
four alignment icons.
✓ Create numbered lists, bulleted lists, or indented block quotes: You
can easily create them by using the appropriate icons on the blog post
You can see several of the formatting options that are available in the Blogger
post editor in action in Figure 6-6.
Don’t overuse text enhancements or else your blog posts become cluttered
and difficult to read.
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89Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
Adding links to blog posts
Links are a critical part of blogging. When you link to content from other
blogs or Web sites within your blog posts, you’re not only providing addi-
tional valuable information and resources to your readers but also con-
necting with like-minded bloggers across the Internet. Remember that the
strength of blogging comes from the blogger community and the network of
people who visit those blogs. Use the power of links within your blog posts
to share ideas and information and reach out to other bloggers through back-
links, which are discussed in the next section of this chapter.
Adding a link within a blog post takes just a few steps:
1. Find the URL, or Web address, for the Web page (or blog post) you
want to link to.
Visit the Web page you want to link to, and copy the URL from your
browser by highlighting it, right-clicking it with your mouse, and choosing
Copy from the menu that opens (or choose copy from the Edit drop-down
menu in your browser). If you want to link to a blog post, check to see
whether a Permalink (the permanent URL for the specific page you want to
link to that will not change in the future) is included at the end of the post. If
so, click that link and then copy the new URL that opens in your browser.
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90 Part II: Using Google Blogger
2. Use your mouse to highlight the text, within your blog post, that you
want to use as the anchor for your link.
Choose words that might be keywords that people search for on search
engines to boost your search engine optimization efforts, as discussed
in Chapter 13.
3. Click the Insert Link icon on the Blogger post editor toolbar.
A dialog box opens in which you can enter the URL (such as http://www.
WebsiteInfo.com) that you copied earlier, as shown in Figure 6-7.
a blog post.
The Insert Link button
4. In the URL text box, enter the URL for the Web page (or blog post) you
want to link to.
Click the Type drop-down menu to change the URL designation, if
5. Click the OK button.
The dialog box closes, and your selected text is now a different color
and underlined, indicating that it’s an active hyperlink. When visitors
click the hyperlinked text in your blog post, the linked URL opens.
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91Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
Images are an important part of blog posts. Images not only add color and
visual appeal to blogs, which are typically text heavy, but also help to fur-
ther illustrate a point and can boost search engine optimization efforts (see
Chapter 13 for details on search engine optimization). Inserting an image into
a blog post takes just a few simple steps:
1. In the Blogger post editor, click the Insert Image icon.
This step opens the Upload Images dialog box, shown in Figure 6-8.
2. Determine whether the image you want to upload is located on your
computer hard drive or on the Web.
3. If the image you want to use is on your hard drive, enter the path-
name or click the Browse button to find the image on your computer.
After you select the image you want to upload, the pathname appears in
the text box.
Images from your hard drive can be in BMP, GIF, JPG, or PNG format and
must be 8 MB or smaller.
4. If the image you want to use is located online, enter the URL in the
URL text box.
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92 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Using images hosted on other Web sites is a gray area in terms of blog-
ging rules and etiquette. Although it isn’t illegal to use an image hosted
on another Web site on your blog (assuming that the images you’re
using aren’t copyrighted in a manner that doesn’t allow you to use
them), it’s looked at negatively and viewed as stealing bandwidth (online
space) from that Web site. In other words, the other Web site is paying
for the space to host that image, and by simply linking to it rather than
downloading it to your hard drive first and then uploading it to your
own account, you’re using a portion of their paid bandwidth for free.
5. In the Choose a Layout section, click the radio button that shows how
you want the image aligned in your blog post.
You can select left, right, center, or no alignment for your image,
depending on how you want your blog post to look. Don’t be afraid to
try each option to determine which alignment you prefer.
6. In the Image Size list, select a size for your image.
You can select small, medium, or large, depending on how big you want
your image to appear in your blog post. Test each size and pick your
7. Select the Use This Layout Every Time check box if you always want
images to appear the same way in your blog posts.
You can change this setting at any time.
8. Click the Upload Image button to upload your image to your Picasa
A message box opens, telling you that your image has been added (see
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93Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
9. Click Done to insert the image into your blog post.
When you’re done writing your blog post, click the Publish Post button in the
lower left of your blog post editor to see your post live online, including your
image, as shown in Figure 6-10.
Managing your images with Picasa
Blogger is owned by Google, which also owns
you create a blog with Blogger and upload a
photo for your profile or to use in a blog post,
that image is stored in a Picasa account that’s
automatically created for you using your Google
account e-mail and password. Google provides
this basic Picasa account to you for free.
Your free Picasa account provides only a limited
amount of space to upload photos for use on
your blog or blogs (you get one Picasa account
per Google account, regardless of the number
of blogs you create). After you use up the free
space allotted to you, you have to upgrade to
a paid Picasa account or find another location
online to upload and store your photos for use
on your blog.
When you log in to your Picasa account, you
can manage your image uploads, share images,
create photo albums, and more.
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94 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Administering Your Blog Posts
As you write your blog posts, you may notice additional settings that appear
at the bottom of the post editor for you to configure. These settings allow
you to control the conversation, informal categorization, and publication
date of individual posts. Read on to learn how taking the time to configure
these settings for each blog post you write can help both you and your blog
Comments are an essential part of a successful blog. The most popular blogs
are typically those that have a strong and vocal community around them.
Visitors to blogs like to feel as though they’re part of the conversation.
Rather than be talked at, blog visitors want to participate in the discussion
by leaving comments and interacting with the blogger and other comment-
ers. With that information in mind, it’s important to allow visitors to leave
comments on your blog posts, as discussed in Chapter 5.
To change your blog’s comments setting for an individual blog post, simply
start a new post (or open an old post) and click the Post Options link in
the lower-left corner of the blog post editor, above the Publish Post button.
Doing so opens a new section to the blog post editor (refer to Figure 6-6),
where you can click either the Allow or Don’t Allow radio button under the
Reader Comments heading, depending on whether you want to allow com-
ments on that post.
Finding images to use on your blog
Photographs and images are protected under
copyright laws, but some photos and images
are available for bloggers to use on their blogs.
These images are granted Creative Commons
licenses, which means that the owner grants
permission for other people to use the image
with some restrictions. To be able to use an
image protected with a Creative Commons
license, you need to follow the restrictions
related to the specific image.
In order to avoid copyright violations on your
blog, be sure to use images that are legally
available for you to reproduce on your blog.
Following are several sources of free images
that you can find online:
✓ StockXchange: www.sxc.hu
✓ MorgueFile: www.morguefile.com
✓ Picapp: www.picapp.com
✓ FreeFoto: www.freefoto.com
✓ Dreamstime: www.dreamstime.com
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95Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
Labels are helpful for several reasons. First, they help you find old blog posts
because you can use labels to quickly sort your posts. Second, labels help
readers by allowing them to click a label of interest to find other posts saved
with the same label. Labels comprise an informal categorization system that
helps in organizing your blog. You can even add a list of your labels in your
blog’s sidebar to make it easy for readers to find related posts. (This topic is
discussed in more detail in Chapter 8.)
To add labels to your blog posts, follow these steps:
1. Start a new post or open an old post.
The blog post editor opens.
2. Enter the labels you want to use for that specific post in the Labels for
This Post text box (see Figure 6-11).
Separate each label with a comma.
for This Post
If you have been writing your blog for an extended period, you should
have a long list of labels that you have already used. Rather than con-
tinually retype the same labels, you can click the Show All link to the
right of the Labels box within the blog post editor to display a list of all
labels you have used on your blog. Then simply pick the existing labels
you want to apply to the post you’re writing.
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96 Part II: Using Google Blogger
3. Click the Publish Post button when you’re done writing your post.
Your blog post appears live on your blog with the labels you added to
your post appearing at the bottom of the post, as shown in Figure 6-12.
Using the post date-and-time feature
Sometimes you want to write a blog post now but not publish it until a later
date and time. For example, you might be going on vacation and want to pre-
post blog entries to ensure that your readers see fresh content while you’re
away. Changing the date and time that your posts are published is simple in
Blogger. Just follow these steps:
1. In the blog post editor, click the Post Options link on the left side,
above the Publish Post button.
This step opens a new section of the blog post editor, where you can
modify the date and time settings for your blog post (refer to Figure 6-6).
2. Under the Post Date and Time heading, enter the date and time that
you want your blog post to be published, and then click the Publish
Your blog post goes live online at the date and time you specified.
The timestamp of each blog post appears at the bottom of each post. Details
for configuring the format of your blog post timestamp are in Chapter 5.
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97Chapter 6: Writing and Publishing Blog Posts
Revisiting Old Posts
The longer you write your blog, the more posts you create. Over time, it
can be hard to find old posts that you might want to update or link to from
a new post. In fact, at times you might want to delete an old post entirely.
Remember that it’s your blog, and you can modify your posts as you see fit.
However, make sure that the changes you make add value to your readers
and don’t confuse them.
Finding an archived post
To find old blog posts, simply click the Posts link from the Blogger dash-
board to open a list of your blog posts, as shown in Figure 6-13.
A list of your
If you’ve been blogging for a while, this list can be very long. To make your
search a bit quicker, you can change the number of posts displayed per page
by selecting a different number from the Posts Per Page drop-down menu.
Luckily, you have a few options to help you find specific posts from this list:
✓ Narrow your search by selecting a label from the Labels list on the left
side of the Edit Posts page.
✓ Enter a search term in the Search text box to narrow your search to
posts that include specific words.
✓ Click the Drafts, Scheduled, or Published links on the right end of the
Your Posts line to narrow your search based on the status of your posts.
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98 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Editing a post
After you find the post you want to edit, simply click the Edit link next to the
post title on the Edit Posts page, as shown in Figure 6-14, to open the blog
post editor, where you can modify and republish that post.
the Edit link
to revise an
Deleting a post
To delete a post from your blog, find the post on the Edit Posts page (refer
to Figure 6-14). Click the Delete link to the right of that specific post. A new
page opens, asking whether you’re sure you want to delete the post. Click the
Delete It button to delete the post (see Figure 6-15).
Deleted posts are immediately removed from your list of posts. After you
click the Delete It button, that blog post is deleted permanently and cannot be
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In This Chapter
▶ Getting to know Blogger layouts
▶ Working with a template
▶ Choosing among the various types of templates
▶ Replacing your template
One of the easiest ways to personalize your blog is by selecting a unique
template (also called a theme) that matches your blog topic, voice,
and style. Your blog’s template can either invite visitors to stay for a while
or scare them away. Take some time up front to consider what you want the
layout and design of your blog to say to your visitors. Then choose a tem-
plate that clearly communicates that message.
This chapter helps you understand what templates are and how to modify
your blog’s template. It also teaches you where to find templates from
Blogger and third parties as well as the pros and cons of paying for a fully
Reviewing Blogger Layouts
When Blogger was launched, users had to learn how to use hypertext markup
language (HTML) or cascading style sheets (CSS) coding to be able to cus-
tomize their blogs. Luckily, new blogs created by using Blogger these days
are automatically set up so that you can use the Blogger Layout feature to
quickly and easily manipulate the look and feel of your blog. By selecting the
Layout tab on the Blogger dashboard, you can select the specific page ele-
ments you want to display on your blog, choose its fonts and colors, and pick
your template. Blogger Layouts allows users to perform a variety of tasks
without having any HTML or CSS knowledge.
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100 Part II: Using Google Blogger
The Page Elements feature, available on the Blogger Layouts tab, works by
using a simple drag-and-drop system, which is discussed in greater detail in
Choosing a Template
A template is the skeleton, or map, of a blog: It provides the basic look and
feel of a blog through colors and fonts and the basic layout of each element.
For example, the template you choose tells Blogger how many sidebars to
display and where. It also tells Blogger the font size and type for your post
titles. Without a template, Blogger wouldn’t know where to display the parts
of your blog. In other words, Blogger doesn’t know what to do until you give
it directions. The template provides those directions by dictating the behind-
the-scenes coding that formats the look of your blog. Before you select a
template, take some time to visit other blogs and find the layouts and themes
that appeal to you. What works well and what doesn’t? Determine which type
of template will work best for your blog, including the layout and colors that
you think will appeal to your visitors. Then find a theme that offers the char-
acteristics you’re looking for. You can read more later in this chapter about
the types of Blogger templates that are available.
Templates versus headers
Before you select a template for your blog, you need to know the difference
between a template and a header. A header is the part of your blog’s template
that appears at the top of your blog pages and typically includes your blog’s
title, subtitle or description, and graphic. Some headers also include quick
links or ads, but the title, subtitle, and graphic are the three most common
elements. Figure 7-1 shows a blog using a free template provided by Blogger.
A personal image is used in the background of the header to give the blog
more of a custom look and feel.
You can customize just about any blog template with a custom header in one
of two ways:
✓ Simply upload a photo or an image to appear in the background.
✓ Change the font type and size of your blog’s title, which is described in
more detail later in this chapter.
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101Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
When you’re looking for a template to use on your blog, you should choose
one that complements your blog’s content. In other words, visitors should
quickly understand, based on your template, what to expect from your blog’s
content because your template should consistently communicate your blog’s
Think of it this way: If you write a blog about baby toys but your blog tem-
plate has a black background and shows images of cigarettes and beer, your
template isn’t consistently communicating your blog’s personality. Visitors
will be confused and be likely to leave your blog quickly — never to return
again. However, if your baby toys blog displays pastel colors in the back-
ground and shows images of baby bottles and rattles, your template consis-
tently communicates your blog’s personality, and visitors will understand
what to expect from your blog. They will feel comfortable and be likely to
stay for awhile and return later.
The colors you select for your blog affect not just your blog’s personality,
as described in the preceding section, but also the readability of your blog.
When you choose a template for your blog, make sure to take some time
to consider the colors used in that template. The following blog elements
should use appropriate coloring:
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102 Part II: Using Google Blogger
✓ Background: Make sure that the color isn’t too bright and doesn’t hurt
✓ Fonts: Don’t make the color too pale or too bright, which can make the
text difficult to read.
✓ Topic: Make sure the colors are appropriate for your blog’s topic.
✓ The Complete Picture: Ensure that all of the colors used in the template
complement each other and create an appealing and inviting look
The colors you choose to use in your blog’s template are up to you, but
keep in mind that certain colors are easier to read and easier on the eyes
than others. Also, the colors you choose can be limiting. For example, if you
select a black background for your blog, your choices for text color will be
quite limited. Although white and yellow are legible on a black background,
dark reds, greens, blues, and purples are nearly impossible to read. Another
important factor to consider when you select the colors for your blog tem-
plate is how those colors will look on different computer monitors. Your blog
might eventually generate traffic from people all over the world who view
your blog from a wide variety of computer monitors. Those monitors can
offer variations in resolution as well as in the way colors are displayed. The
orange you select for your blog background, for example, might look beauti-
ful to you but be too bright for many visitors.
The best rule to follow when selecting your blog template without the help
of a professional Web designer is to keep it simple. Use a light-colored back-
ground with dark text (a white background with black text is easiest to read),
and use just a few colors rather than a rainbow of colors that can become con-
fusing and difficult to read.
Less is more when it comes to blog design.
The key component to consider when you select the fonts to use in your blog’s
template is readability. Visitors are unlikely to return to your blog if the text is
difficult to read simply because you chose a font that is overly stylized. Keep
the following factors in mind when you select fonts for your blog:
✓ Online readability: Choose fonts that are easy to read online, such as
Verdana or Georgia.
✓ Availability: Choose fonts that most people have loaded on their com-
puters already. If you use an uncommon font, people who don’t have
that font loaded on their computers cannot view it. Instead, the font will
automatically default to one that might be unappealing or ugly, such as
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103Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
✓ Number of fonts used: Stick with two or three fonts. Mixing too many
fonts can be confusing and make pages difficult to read.
✓ Styling: Save overly stylized fonts for your blog’s header graphic and
Use font enhancements only to call attention to key points. Don’t overuse
bold, italics, or underlining, or else your blog posts will become cluttered with
enhancements, which makes them difficult to read.
Columns and layout
Most blogs are set up using a 2- or 3-column layout. Blog posts appear in
reverse chronological order in the widest column, and one or two smaller
columns may appear on the left or right side of the blog post column or flank-
ing both sides of the blog post column. Figures 7-2 and 7-3 show how 1- and
2-column blog layouts look, respectively.
The dimensions of each column can vary, but one thing remains constant —
the column that includes the blog posts is always the widest.
The columns to the left and right of the blog post column are sidebars, which
are used to hold a variety of page elements, such as blogroll links, ads,
archive links, profile information and links, and anything else you want to
include. The blog post column provides the main content of your blog, and
the sidebars lead visitors to all the other areas you want to share with them.
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104 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Sidebar capacity and placement
Bloggers have the option of placing just about anything they want in the side-
bars of their blogs as long as whatever they publish doesn’t violate the rules
of Blogger and Google. For example, you might want to include a variety of
ads on your blog, and the majority of those ads can appear in the sidebars of
your blog. If that’s the case, selecting a 3-column theme gives you two side-
bars in which to place ads.
The placement of sidebars can also affect your blog. For example, a 3-column
layout that places both sidebars together, to the right or left of your blog
post column, gives you the option to place small button ads as well as larger
banner ads that can span the width of both sidebars. After you determine the
purpose of your sidebars, select the blog template layout that best helps you
achieve those goals.
Future blogging goals
When you start your new blog using Blogger, take some time to establish
your short- and long-term objectives for your blog. You can more easily
create a plan and develop your blog accordingly now than try to make
extreme changes later. Of course, one of the best parts about blogging is
that you can grow and change your blog as necessary — although drastic
changes might confuse your audience. Choose your blog layout and template
with your pie-in-the-sky aspirations for it in mind. Think big, and then work
patiently and consistently to meet those goals, knowing that you set up your
blog to grow with you in the future.
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105Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
A wide variety of free templates is available by using the Templates tab on
your Blogger dashboard. You can use and manipulate each of those themes
as described later in this chapter. You also can find Web sites that offer
unique templates that are compatible with Blogger, as described later in this
Considering Types of Templates
You can choose from four types of templates to customize your Blogger blog:
1. Templates from Blogger: Blogger offers a number of free prebuilt tem-
plates that you can access directly from your Blogger dashboard.
2. Free templates from third parties: If you want a theme that’s unique to
your own blog or different from most of the other blog templates you
see in the blogosphere, you might want to download a free Blogger tem-
plate from a third-party Web site.
3. Premium templates from third parties: Many Web designers create pre-
mium Blogger templates that you can use for a fee. Premium templates
are typically sold a certain number of times then retired.
Knowing Blogger and Google policies
Both Blogger and Google have their own sets
of policies and terms of service that apply to
you when you register to use Blogger. Terms of
service documents are typically long and filled
with legal jargon, but you should take the time
to read them thoroughly because they contain
a number of restrictions related to what you can
and cannot publish or do on your blog.
Here are some links to the documents you
should read before you start your Blogger
✓ Google Blogger Terms of Service: www.
✓ Google Blogger Content Policy: www.
✓ Google Terms of Service: www.google.
Neither Google nor Blogger monitors the infor-
mation published on users’ blogs. If you find
a blog that appears to violate the Google or
Blogger terms of service or content policy, you
can report it to Blogger through the link in the
Terms of Service–Report Abuse section of the
Blogger online Help system at www.help.
blogger.com. Other people can report you,
too, so make sure that you follow the rules.
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106 Part II: Using Google Blogger
4. Custom templates from third parties: You can hire a Web designer to
create a complete custom theme that is designed to meet your specifica-
tions and can be used only on your blog.
The choice is yours, and this chapter shows you what you need to know to
make your decision.
The type of template you select depends on these two factors:
✓ Whether you want a unique look on your blog
✓ Whether you want to spend money on your theme
The weight you give to these two factors will help you decide which type of
template you want to use for your blog.
Templates from Blogger
Blogger users can choose from a variety of themes provided by using the
Blogger dashboard. Follow these steps to open the Templates page.
1. Sign in to your Blogger account.
This step opens your Blogger dashboard.
2. From the Blogger dashboard, click the Layout link for your blog.
This step opens the Layout configuration page for your blog.
3. Select the Pick New Template tab from the navigation bar.
The Select a New Template for Your Blog page opens, as shown in
If you need a refresher on signing in to your Blogger account, opening the
Blogger dashboard, or finding the Layout section, you can find detailed steps
and information in Chapter 5.
As you scroll through the various themes available from Blogger, notice that
each one includes a Preview Template link beneath the template choice box.
This link makes it easy to see, without having to save your changes first, what
your blog will look like if you select a template. To use the Preview Template
feature, follow these steps:
1. Click the radio button next to the name of the template you want to
2. Click the Preview Template link beneath the template box.
This step opens a new window that displays your existing blog, format-
ted with the new template, as shown in Figure 7-5.
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107Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
3. Click the Close button in the upper corner of the preview window to
This step returns the Select a New Template for Your Blog page to the
4. Click the Save Template button to save your blog with the new tem-
plate you chose.
You can then click the View Blog link to see your changes live on your
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108 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Take your time previewing all the different template options that are available
from Blogger, to find the one that works best for your blog. Your changes are
not final until you click the Save Template button.
If you made changes to the colors and fonts used in your blog from the Fonts
and Colors tab within the Layout configuration settings of the Blogger dash-
board, those changes are lost when you choose and save a new template.
Many of the templates available from Blogger are offered in more than one
version. For example, the template provided by Jason Sutter (refer to Figure
7-5) is available in two distinctly different versions. Although many of the
variations on a single template simply alter the colors that are used, the
templates designed by Jason Sutter vary by color, font, and other elements.
Compare Figures 7-6 and 7-7 to see the differences between Jason Sutter’s
template — the Herbert and Jellyfish versions. The Herbert template uses
title case (initial caps as in the title of a book) for the headings in the header
and sidebar as well as a colored bar in the header and a small font in the blog
posts. The Jellyfish template uses lowercase for the headings in the header
and sidebar and a large font in the blog posts.
Every theme can be modified with HTML or CSS language, but even if you
don’t know how to use HTML and CSS, you can still make minor changes to
your Blogger theme by using the Layouts function in Blogger.
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109Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
The templates available from Blogger are provided by various designers for
you to use freely. That’s a useful benefit, but because these templates are
available for free to every Blogger user, the downside to choosing one is that
it doesn’t make your blog unique. In other words, your blog might not stand
out in the crowded blogosphere. It might not be memorable or distinct from
other blogs. Depending on your overall growth goals for your blog, you might
want to find a template from another source outside of Blogger.
Free templates from third parties
Many Web designers create Blogger templates and offer them for free down-
loading from their own blogs or Web sites. Using a free theme from a third
party certainly makes your blog a bit different than it would be if you used
a free theme provided by Blogger, but because free third-party themes are
readily available to anyone who searches for them, the strong possibility
exists that many bloggers will use them. In short, a free third-party theme
offers two primary benefits:
✓ Cost: They cost nothing out of your pocket to use.
✓ Uniqueness: They make your blog look different than it is if you use a
free theme provided by Blogger.
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110 Part II: Using Google Blogger
On the other hand, your blog experiences two key negatives by using a free
theme provided by a third party:
✓ Sameness: Many other blogs will probably use the same free third-party
theme that you choose.
✓ Lack of support: You may not be able to find support or assistance from
the template designer if you later have a problem with the free third-
party theme you choose.
Chapter 19 provides a number of online resources where you can find
free Blogger templates provided by third parties. For example, Figure 7-8
shows a free Blogger template that’s available from Eblog Templates (www.
eblogtemplates.com). The template is perfect for a family blog, a travel
blog, or an environmentally focused blog.
a variety of
Make sure that any Blogger templates you download to your computer from
a third-party Web site come from a safe source. Avoid downloading viruses
or other security breaches by downloading only from trusted sites and by
making sure your antivirus software is up-to-date before you download any-
thing. If you do download an infected template, run a virus scan and disinfect
your computer immediately.
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111Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
Premium templates from third parties
Here’s another option that’s available to you if you’re looking for a blog
theme that stands out more than the free templates provided by Blogger:
Find a premium Blogger template from a third party. Web designers often
create premium themes that they offer for a flat fee. The fee is typically much
less than you would pay for a completely customized theme, because the
template is sold “as is” with no additional customization from the original
design. More often than not, designers sell a premium template to only a
certain number of users, and then they retire that template. An example of a
Web site that offers premium Blogger template designs is Designed by Lara
(www.designedbylara.com), which offers a variety of 2-, 3-, and 4-column
premade Blogger templates, one of which is shown in Figure 7-9.
Before you pay for a premium Blogger template, check to see whether the tem-
plate will be retired after a specific number of people buy it to ensure you’re
not paying for a template that thousands of other people can use, too. Also,
determine whether the designer offers any kind of support if you have prob-
lems using the template.
Custom templates from third parties
If you want your blog to have a one-of-a-kind design that offers a specific
layout, consider hiring a designer to create a custom design that you hold the
copyright to when it’s completed. Of course, a custom design has a steeper
price tag on it than a premium Blogger template provided by a third party,
because it’s created to meet your specifications. Many designers create
custom Blogger templates with prices for services ranging from less than
$100 to $1,000 or more.
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112 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Remember that just because a designer charges a high price tag for her work,
it doesn’t mean that the designer is the best or offers the most complete
service. Before you dive into a contract with a designer to start working on
the custom template for your Blogger blog, do some research. Ask other
bloggers for recommendations for designers, and be certain to ask for refer-
ences from the designers you consider working with. Also, take some time
to look through other blog templates that designer has created by review-
ing his online portfolio or asking for links to his work. Finally, obtain quotes
from several designers before you make your selection. Tell each designer to
provide an itemized quotation that specifies exactly what she will provide to
you, a timeframe for completion, and a description of ongoing support ser-
vices. You can use the result to compare apples to apples and to determine
which quotation is comprehensive and fair and best meets your needs.
Don’t accept a bundled price from a designer. Ask each one to provide a
detailed breakdown of exactly what services are included in the fee he plans
to charge you.
Changing a Template
After you select your template, it’s easy to start using it. Blogger offers an
easy process to switch between Blogger-provided themes or to upload
templates from third parties to use on your blog. You can also easily revert
to your old theme, if you need to. You work through the entire process of
changing your template by using the Layout link on your Blogger dashboard.
Choosing a different Blogger template
If you select a free template provided by Blogger, simply follow the instruc-
tions outlined earlier in this chapter, in the “Templates from Blogger”
section, to configure your blog settings properly. You can quite easily experi-
ment with various themes provided by Blogger: Simply click the radio but-
tons next to each option on the Select a New Template for Your Blog page
within your Blogger account, and then click the Preview Template link, as
described earlier in this chapter.
You must click the Save Template button in order for your Blogger template
choice to take effect and appear live on your blog. After you save your tem-
plate, a message appears, saying that your changes have been saved. You can
click the View Blog link to see your new template live on your blog (see Figure
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113Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
Modifying the fonts and
colors in your template
No matter which template you choose to use, you can modify the fonts and
colors from the Fonts and Colors tab within the Layouts section of your
Blogger dashboard, as shown in Figure 7-11.
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114 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Notice the list on the far left side of your screen, as shown in Figure 7-11.
Here you can scroll through a list of elements for color and font modifica-
tions such as the page background color, link color, header font, and so on. A
default list of color or font choices is displayed to the right, depending on the
element you select from the list on the left. Any changes made here are made
globally meaning an element that you modify here will be changed anywhere
it appears on your blog. For example, if you change your link color from blue
to orange, all of the links throughout your blog will now appear in orange.
Don’t be afraid to test different colors and fonts to find which ones you like
the most. If you make a change you don’t like, simply click the Clear Edits
button to erase your changes. Your changes are not final until you click the
Save Changes button.
You can also make changes on individual posts through the post editor as
described in Chapter 6.
Switching to a custom template
If you decide to use a free template, premium template, or custom template
provided by a third party, upload the necessary files to your Blogger account
to make the new theme work on your blog. Luckily, most third-party tem-
plates are available for downloading. For example, Figure 7-12 shows a post
on Blogger Buster (www.bloggerbuster.com), where you can download
Amanda Fazani’s free Blogger template, BT Dark Green.
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115Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
To download a third-party template for use on your Blogger blog, simply
click the download link or button on the third-party Web site. Luckily,
designers usually set up the download feature to be easy to use with a
zipped folder. After files are saved in a zipped folder on your computer hard
drive, just extract the files to your computer’s hard drive by using your
preferred extraction software, such as Winzip or Stuffit. You need to locate
the unzipped file that has the .xml extension in order to upload it to your
Blogger account so that the custom template can be applied to your blog. Of
course, some free templates might have variations on these steps, so be cer-
tain to read the installation instructions for the template you choose.
To save the third-party template to your computer, follow these steps:
1. Select the Layout tab from the Blogger dashboard.
This step opens the Page Elements page within the Layout
Configurations section of your Blogger account.
2. Select the Edit HTML tab from the navigation bar.
The Backup/Restore Template and Edit Template page opens (see
3. Click the Download Full Template link under the Backup/Restore
The File Download dialog box appears (see Figure 7-14).
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116 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Backing up your template is an essential step if you think that you might
want to revert later to the exact template you were using previously .
4. Click the Save button.
The Save As dialog box appears.
5. Locate the folder on your hard drive where you want to save a copy of
your existing blog template.
Choose a location where you can find the template file if you want to
use it again later or create a new folder called My Blog Back-ups. The
template backup file is saved in XML format in the folder you choose. It’s
a good idea to rename the file so you remember what it is if you need it
later (for example, TemplateBackup-Jan01-2009.xml).
To upload the third-party template to your Blogger account, open the
Backup/Restore Template and Edit Template page, and then follow these
1. Click the Browse button, which appears next to the Upload a Template
from a File on Your Hard Drive text box.
The Choose File dialog box appears.
2. Locate the XML file for the new template you just downloaded to your
hard drive. Select the file and then click the Open button.
The XML file for your new third-party template is located where you
saved it in Step 5 of the preceding step list.
The file path for the XML file you just selected appears in the Upload a
Template from a File on Your Hard Drive box (see Figure 7-15).
3. Double-check to ensure that you selected the correct file.
4. Click the Upload button.
Your new template is uploaded to your Blogger account.
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117Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
Whenever you upload a third-party template to your Blogger account,
you’re likely to see a warning message: “Widgets are about to be
deleted.” Be aware that with a new template, you may have to reconfig-
ure some of the page elements and gadgets used on your blog.
5. Click the Confirm & Save button.
The new HTML code for your third-party template now automatically
appears in the big box in the Edit Template section of the page, as
shown in Figure 7-16.
You can see
the file path
for your new
in the box
next to the
for your new
in the Edit
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118 Part II: Using Google Blogger
6. After your new third-party template is uploaded, click the View Blog
link to review the look of your blog. Figure 7-17 shows how the new
Tropical Travels blog looks using the free BT Dark Green template.
You might want to modify your blog’s page elements, as described in
detail in Chapter 8, after your third-party template is uploaded. For
example, you might need to clean up your blog by changing the order of
your profile, updating the archives in your sidebar, or adding a graphical
image to your header.
apply a new
Knowing what to do after you
apply a third-party template
What happens after you select a third-party template, upload it, use it for
a while, and then experience a problem with it? That question is important
to ask template designers before you purchase design services from them.
Changing to a new theme is fairly easy. The more customized your blog is,
however (and the longer you blog, the more likely you are to customize its
elements), the more difficult it is to switch to a new theme without creating
a lot of work for yourself to get things to look and perform the way you want
Changing your blog template can also affect your visitors’ expectations for
your blog. Take time to warn visitors (particularly loyal readers!) that a tem-
plate change is coming, so they’re not surprised and confused by a sudden
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119Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Blog with Templates
Evaluate your goals for your blog before you select a third-party template.
Depending on your long-term objectives, it might be in your best interest to
select a template from a reliable source that you know will be around for a
while. You might want to contact the designer before you make your final
decision on a freely available template to ask her whether help is available
if you have problems. Don’t be afraid to reach out to template designers.
Most templates have the designer’s name and contact information attached
(usually an e-mail address) . If a designer doesn’t respond to you, you might
not want to use that template. The decisions you make about your template
are important. Don’t just jump into picking a theme because you like how it
looks. Make sure that it offers everything you need to make your blogging
experience successful and enjoyable.
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120 Part II: Using Google Blogger
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In This Chapter
▶ Working with the basic page elements
▶ Choosing specialized gadgets
▶ Incorporating third-party gadgets
▶ Moving page elements and gadgets
The Blogger platform utilizes a Layout feature that makes changing the
look and feel of your blog very easy with a simple drag-and-drop
template editor that requires no HTML or CSS knowledge. Using the Layout
features, you can change your blog’s template (see Chapter 7) in just a few
simple steps. You can also modify the colors and fonts used in your blog and
customize your blog’s header, footer, and sidebar with a variety of pre-
defined and easy to use gadgets.
This chapter shows you how to use the Blogger Layout feature, so you can
customize your blog to look and perform just how you want it to. I cover
what page elements and specialized gadgets are available to you in Blogger
so that you can decide which ones you want to include on your blog. You
find out how to customize each of your blog’s page elements and gadgets
and, finally, how to add gadgets created by third parties to your blog.
Throughout this chapter, I reference adding gadgets to your sidebar for
consistency but keep in mind it’s your blog. You can add gadgets in your
sidebar, footer, or wherever else you want (within the parameters of the
Blogger platform) to customize your blog exactly how you want.
Editing Basic Page Elements
Every blog has several basic page elements in common. Although these
elements might be customized to look differently or appear in different
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122 Part II: Using Google Blogger
locations, the basic functionality and set up is the same for every blog. These
elements include the blog header, posts, archive links, and profile. Of course,
including some of these elements (such as archive links and your profile)
isn’t mandatory, but they help visitors find your published content and learn
more about you. That said, including both archive links and a profile is
important if you want to grow your blog.
To modify your blog’s page elements, select the Layout link from your
Blogger dashboard. The Page Elements window opens, as shown in
Including a header
Your blog’s header is one of the most important parts of your blog. At the
very least, a header should include your blog’s title, but more often than not,
blog headers include a graphic and subtitle or description of the blog. Each
of these parts of a header helps to tell visitors what your blog is about within
seconds. They also help communicate your blog’s personality to visitors,
which I describe in Chapter 7.
To edit your blog’s header, follow these steps:
1. In the Header box of the Page Elements Window (refer to Figure 8-1),
click the Edit link.
The Configure Header window opens (see Figure 8-2).
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123Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
2. In the Blog Title box, enter the title you want to appear in your blog’s
The title you enter in your blog’s header does not need to match the
title in your blog’s domain name.
3. In the Blog Description box, enter the text you want to appear with
your blog title in your blog’s header.
The space available in your header isn’t very big. Don’t clutter it with a
long description. Instead, use a subtitle or tagline in the Blog Description
box to communicate further what your blog is about to visitors in just a
4. If you wish to include a graphic in your blog’s header, select the radio
button next to From Your Computer or next to From the Web depend-
ing on where the image you want is saved.
Get complete instructions for adding an image to your blog’s header in
5. Click the Save button when you’re done making your edits.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can click the View
Blog link to see your changes online or continue editing your blog.
Modifying blog posts
You can edit the format and appearance of your blog posts in the Page
Elements window. Although you have the option to configure many of these
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124 Part II: Using Google Blogger
settings when you set up your blog and via the Settings link on the Blogger
dashboard, you can also make modifications quickly and easily to your blog
post presentation as follows:
1. In the Page Elements window of your Blogger account, click the Edit
link in the Blog Posts box. (Refer to Figure 8-1.)
The Configure Blog Posts window opens, as shown in Figure 8-3.
2. In the Number of Posts on Main Page drop-down menu, choose Posts
if you want to display a specific number of posts on your blog’s
main page at all times or choose Days with Posts to display a specific
number of days’ worth of posts on your blog’s main page.
Consider your audience and how often you update your blog with new
posts. For example, if you update your blog several times per day, then
including a certain number of days’ worth of posts might make your
main page very long and require users to scroll a lot. Most Web users
don’t like to scroll excessively, so you might consider including 10 or
fewer posts on your blog’s main page.
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125Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
3. Under the Select Items heading, make sure only the items you want to
appear on your blog posts have check marks next to them. Check or
uncheck boxes as necessary.
• The first item is the date when the post is published. If you want
the date to appear with your blog posts, check the box and use
the drop-down menu to choose the format you want the date to
• The byline is the second item. If you want a byline, which displays
text followed by the blog author’s name, on your blog posts,
ensure the box is selected. The text that precedes the author’s
name is your choice; type it in the box provided.
• The third item is the time the post is published. If you want the
date to appear with your blog posts, check the box and use
the drop-down menu to choose the format the time appears in.
The text that precedes the time is your choice; type it in the box
• The fourth item allows you to select whether you want to display
comments with your blog posts. If you want to show comments
with your blog posts, check the box and modify the text in the box
provided. The number that precedes the box is automated and
reflects the number of comments left on a post at any given point
• The fifth item allows you to select whether you want to display the
links to a blog post. If so, select the check box and modify the text
in the box provided.
• The sixth item allows you to select whether you want to display
labels with your blog posts. If so, check the box and modify the
text if you don’t want to use the “Labels” default
• Show Quick Editing is a handy item that allows you to edit a blog
post with a simple click of the mouse. If you want to include the
Quick Edit icon with your blog posts, ensure the box is selected.
• The Reactions item allows you to add three link buttons beneath
each of your blog posts giving readers the ability to provide feed-
back on your posts. The default settings provide Funny, Interesting
and Cool buttons, but you can modify both the title of the feature
and the titles of the buttons by typing directly into the text box or
selecting the Edit link. When visitors click a reaction button, their
feedback is added to a star rating system that appears beneath
your blog post.
• Show Email Post Links is a tool that allows visitors to your blog to
e-mail a link to one of your posts with a click of the mouse. If you
want to include the Email Post Links icon with your blog posts,
ensure the box is selected.
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126 Part II: Using Google Blogger
• Show Ads Between Posts is a simple way to include Google
AdSense ads between your blog posts. If you want to include
Google AdSense ads between your blog posts, ensure the box
is selected. You need to sign up for a Google AdSense account
before ads can appear on your blog. You can find out more
about Google AdSense in Chapter 11.
4. In the Arrange Items section, you can click and drag the various
elements you selected to include with your blog posts into the layout
Most bloggers use the same basic layout for the elements of their blog
posts, similar to the default layout Blogger puts together when you
choose the elements you want to display with your post. It’s a good idea
not to change the layout of your blog post elements so drastically that it
could confuse visitors.
5. Click the Save button when you finish making changes.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can click the View
Blog link to see your changes online or continue working on your blog.
Editing the About Me box
The About Me box (also called the profile) is where you can make quick edits
to your blog profile and determine which elements you want to appear on
the main page of your blog. Chapter 5 includes detailed information and
instructions on creating a compelling profile. To modify the display settings
for your profile, follow these steps:
1. In the Page Elements window of your Blogger account, click the Edit
link in the About Me box. (Refer to Figure 8-1.)
The Edit Profile window opens, as shown in Figure 8-4.
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127Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
2. In the Title box, enter the heading you want to appear above your
profile on your blog.
Most bloggers use “About Me,” “About,” or “About This Blog.” The
choice is yours!
3. If you want your profile to be public and appear on your blog in its
entirety, select the Share My Profile check box.
It’s a good idea to share your profile so visitors understand who you are
and why you’re writing your blog, but be careful what information you
publish publicly. There might be some information that you don’t want
the world to see.
4. If you want your entire profile to appear on the main page of your
blog, select the Show on This Blog check box in the About Me section.
If you select this check box, your entire profile appears in the sidebar
(or wherever you position the About Me page element) of your blog. If
your profile is long, it could take up a lot of space in your sidebar. If
that’s the case, you might want to deselect this box so your visitors
have to follow a View My Complete Profile link to see your profile on a
5. In the Name box, enter the name you want to appear in the About Me
section of your blog’s main page.
The name entered here does not need to match your login name or the
name you used to open your account.
6. In the Description box, enter information about you and your blog.
Your description should help visitors understand who you are and why
your blog is the place online to get information about your blog topic.
7. If you want to show your City/Town, Region/State, or Country/
Territory on your blog, select the Show on This Blog check box in the
As in Step 4 above, showing all of your location information on your
blog’s main page can make your profile very long. If that’s the case, you
might want to deselect this box so your visitors have to follow a View
My Complete Profile link to see your location information on a separate
8. Enter your city or town in the City/Town box.
Consider privacy issues as discussed in Chapter 5 before you make the
decision to share this information on the main page of your blog.
9. Enter your region or state in the Region/State box.
If you want to share the state that you live in or your region of the
country or the world, enter it here.
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128 Part II: Using Google Blogger
10. In the Country/Territory drop-down list, choose the country or
territory where you reside.
If you don’t want to share your country or territory, choose Not
Specified from the drop-down list.
11. Click the Save button when you finish making changes.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can click the View
Blog link to see your changes online or continue working on your blog.
Archives are an integral part of your blog that offer a place for visitors to
find your old blog posts easily. You can configure how your archives are
displayed in the Page Elements window of your Blogger account. Chapter 5
describes how to initially set up your Archives when you create your blog.
Following are the steps you can take to configure the display settings of your
Archives on your main blog page:
1. In the Page Elements window of your Blogger account, click the Edit
link in the Archives box. (Refer to Figure 8-1.)
The Configure Blog Archive window opens, as shown in Figure 8-5.
2. In the Title box, enter the heading you want to appear above your
Most bloggers use a generic title, such as “Archives” here.
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129Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
3. In the Style section, click the Hierarchy, Flat List, or Dropdown Menu
radio button to set the appearance of your archive’s links.
• The Hierarchy format, shown in the Preview section in Figure 8-5,
displays each blog post as a link categorized by year and month of
• The Flat List format, shown in the Preview section in Figure 8-6,
displays only months.
• The Dropdown Menu format is the most concise style and displays
months by using a traditional drop-down menu, as shown in
The Flat List
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130 Part II: Using Google Blogger
4. In the Options section, select the Show Post Titles check box to
include post titles (refer to Figure 8-5).
If you want to consolidate your archives but still use the Hierarchy style,
as shown in the Preview section in Figure 8-8, deselect Show Post Titles.
If you select the Flat List or Dropdown Menu radio button in the Style
section of the Configure Blog Archive window, the Show Post Titles
check box displays in a gray font and is inactive. In short, the setting
doesn’t apply to the Flat List or Dropdown Menu styles because neither
displays post titles.
5. In the Options section, select the Show Oldest Posts First check box if
you want to display your posts in chronological order.
It’s uncommon to display archives in chronological order. Blog posts are
typically published in reverse chronological order, so most bloggers
also display their archives in reverse chronological order. If you wish to
do the same, leave the Show Oldest Posts First box unselected.
6. In the Archive Frequency section, click the Monthly, Weekly, or Daily
radio button depending on how you want your old blog posts to dis-
play in your archives.
• The Monthly Archive Frequency setting shown in the Preview
section in Figure 8-5 is the Hierarchy style, Figure 8-6 shows the
Flat List style, and Figure 8-7 shows the Dropdown Menu style.
• The Weekly Archive Frequency setting is shown in the Preview
section in Figure 8-9. Rather than group old posts by month, this
frequency setting groups old posts by week. The Flat List style
and Dropdown Menu style work the same way — instead of
months displaying, weeks display. Note the Show End Date check
box. Deselecting this check box removes the date after the hyphen
for each week displayed so just the first date of each timeframe
• The Daily Archive Frequency setting is shown in the Preview
section in Figure 8-10. Rather than group old posts by month or
week, old posts are shown by day. This setting works the same
way in the Flat List style and the Dropdown Menu style.
7. In the Date Format section, use the drop-down menus to select the
date format you want to display for your archives.
Depending on the style you choose to display your Archives, the Date
Format drop-down menu titles will change to include one or more of the
following: Year, Month, and Day.
You can view all your edits in the Preview section to ensure your
archives are configured just how you want.
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131Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
8. Click the Save button when you finish making changes.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can select the View
Blog link to see your changes online or continue editing your blog.
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132 Part II: Using Google Blogger
The Blogger platform offers a variety of gadgets that you can add to your
blog layout to create the best user experience for your audience. Whether
you want to add a blogroll to your sidebar or a list of the labels to categorize
your blog posts (or both), you can choose the gadgets that work best for you.
Take some time to experiment with the various Blogger gadgets described
here. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to test the waters with any gadget.
Remember, you can always remove a gadget at anytime.
To add a gadget to your blog, simply select the Add a Gadget link on the Page
Elements page of your Blogger dashboard (refer to Figure 8-1). The Add a
Gadget window opens (see Figure 8-11), where you can scroll through the
various gadgets available to add to your blog. Note that on the left side of the
window are a variety of links that categorize the gadgets available to choose
from directly through this feature window, such as Basic, Featured, News,
and so on. The first link is Basic. This is the information that appears when
you first open the Add a Gadget window and provides a list of gadgets offered
by Blogger to enhance your blog. The other links in the list can include a
variety of gadgets created by third parties (described later in this chapter).
For now, focus on adding the Basic Blogger gadgets to your blog.
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133Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
The Add a
Providing a blog list
The Blog List gadget allows you to add a traditional blogroll to your blog’s
sidebar. Blogrolls are a great way to network with other bloggers and grow
your blog. In simplest terms, when you include links to other blogs you
like and you want to share with your audience, each link you add has the
potential to drive traffic to that other blog. If the other blogger is interested
in growing her blog, it’s likely that she monitors where incoming links that
are driving traffic come from. She’ll see your blog is driving traffic and is
likely to add a reciprocal link to your blog on her blogroll. Each additional
incoming link to your blog can help in your search engine optimization efforts
as well, which I describe in detail in Chapter 13.
With that in mind, monitor where incoming links to your blog generate from.
If a link is contained within a post, be certain to acknowledge the blog by
leaving a comment or by adding that blog to your blogroll. Furthermore,
when you add a blog you like to your blogroll, be sure to send an e-mail to
the blogger or leave a comment on one of his blog posts telling him why you
like the blog and that you added it to your blogroll.
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134 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Adding a blogroll to your blog’s sidebar with the Blog List page element is
done as follows:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Blog List. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Blog List window opens, as shown in Figure 8-12.
2. In the Title box, type the title you want for your blogroll.
The Title box populates with “My Blog List” by default. Other options for
a title include, “Blogroll,” “Blogs I Read,” “Recommended Blogs,” and so
on. The title for your blogroll is entirely up to you, but keep in mind
“Blogroll” is the most common.
3. From the Sort drop-down menu, choose the sort method you want to
use to display the links in your blogroll.
You can choose to display links in your blogroll in alphabetical order by
title or by listing the most recently updated blogs in descending order.
4. In the Show section, you can configure the settings for how each link
within your blogroll will appear in your sidebar.
• Select the Icon check box if you want to include an icon next to
• Select the Title of Most Recent Item check box if you want to
include the title of the most recent blog post published for each
link in your blogroll.
• Select the Snippet from Most Recent Item check box if you want to
include a short snippet of text from the beginning of the most
recent blog post published for each link in your blogroll.
• Select the Date of Last Update check box if you want to display
the date the most recent post was published for each link in your
Your blogroll can clutter quickly if you include too many elements, such
as post titles, snippets, and icons. Test each element to ensure your
blogroll is readable and useful to your visitors.
5. Click the Add a Blog to Your List link to add a blog to your blogroll.
The Add to Your Blog List window opens, as shown in Figure 8-13. You
can select the Add radio button and enter the URL for the blog you want
to add, or you can click the Import Subscriptions from Google Reader
radio button to add all the blogs you subscribe to through Google
Reader to your blogroll. Find out more about Google Reader and blog
subscriptions in Chapter 9.
6. When you finish adding links to your blogroll, click the Save button.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can view your
changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-14, or continue editing
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135Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
The Add to
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136 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Blogger gives you the option to add a link on your blog inviting people to
follow your blog. If the Followers gadget is available on your blog, other
Blogger users can select a Follow This Blog link on your blog to add it to
a list in their Blogger dashboards. Followers see your blog updates directly
on their Blogger dashboards when they log into their accounts. Adding a
followers link to your blog requires just two steps:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Followers (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Followers window opens as shown in Figure 8-15.
2. Enter a title for your Followers gadget and select the Save button.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can view your
changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-16, or continue editing
Presenting a slideshow
A great way to add a personal touch to your blog is to add a slideshow of
photos or images. With Blogger, it’s easy to add an automated slideshow
using the Slideshow gadget. Here’s how:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Slideshow. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Slideshow window opens, shown in Figure 8-17.
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137Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
2. In the Title box, enter the title you want for your slideshow.
The title appears above the slideshow on your blog and helps your blog
visitors understand the slideshow’s content.
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138 Part II: Using Google Blogger
3. In the Source drop-down menu, choose the location where the slide-
show you want to display on your blog is saved.
You can choose from one of the popular Web sites where people upload,
save and share photos, such as Picasa, Flickr, and Photobucket, or you
can use a photo feed.
4. In the Option section, click the Keyword radio button if you want to
include photos saved with a specific keyword, or click the Album
radio button to display photos from a specific group of photos saved
as an album.
When you select the Album option, you enter the username for the
owner of the album and pick from a list of albums created by that user
to find the one you want to display on your blog.
5. Select the Open Links in New Window check box if you want to give
your blog visitors the option to view the slideshow at its original
This is a useful option to select if you want your blog visitors to have
the opportunity to view your slideshow in a larger format than you can
offer in your blog’s sidebar.
6. Click the Save button to save your slideshow.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can view your
changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-18, or continue editing
to your blog.
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139Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
Offering subscription links
If you want to grow your blog, then offering an easy way to subscribe to it in
your audience’s feed readers is imperative. You can read about subscriptions
and feeds in more detail in Chapter 9, including adding the Subscription Links
gadget to your blog.
Taking a Poll
Using the Poll gadget is a great way to make your blog interactive. You can
add a survey to ask your visitors anything you want by simply adding this
gadget to your blog. Polls are fun and a great way to get visitors who may just
be lurkers to come out of the woodwork and actively participate in your
blog’s community. You can create a multiple-choice poll in just a few simple
steps as follows:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Poll. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Create a Poll window opens, shown in Figure 8-19.
2. In the Question box, type your poll question.
Make sure you type a multiple-choice question.
3. In the Answers boxes, type the various answers you want your blog
readers to choose from.
If you have fewer answers than boxes provided, click the Remove link
next to empty boxes to eliminate them from your poll. Alternately, if you
have more answers than boxes, click the Add Another Answer link to
add more answer boxes to your poll.
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140 Part II: Using Google Blogger
4. If you want your blog readers to have the option to select more than
one answer to your poll, then select the Allow Visitors to Select
Multiple Answers check box.
Allowing visitors to select multiple answers is entirely up to you and can
change from one poll to another.
5. In the Poll Closing Date and Time boxes, enter the date and time you
want your poll to close to new responses.
If you want your poll to have a specific end date, enter it here, so
visitors no longer have the ability to cast votes or answer your poll
question after the expiration date and time.
6. Click the Save button to save your poll.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the
appropriate link to view your poll on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-20,
or continue editing your blog.
Adding a List
Another simple way to personalize your blog is by adding a list. Using the List
gadget in Blogger, you can insert a list of your favorite movies, books, songs,
or anything else you want to share with your readers. The choice is yours!
Add a list to your blog by following these steps:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of List. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure List window opens, shown in Figure 8-21.
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141Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
2. In the Title box, enter a title for your list.
You can name your list anything you want to help describe it to your
3. In the Number of Items to Show in List box, enter the number of items
you want to display in your list.
If you leave this box blank, all the items in your list appear on your blog
at all times.
4. From the Sorting drop-down menu, choose how you want your list to
sort on your blog.
You can choose to sort your list alphabetically, reverse alphabetically,
or not at all.
5. In the Add List Item box, type the item you want to include in
If you want to link your list item to a Web page, click the Create Link
icon to the right of the Add List Item box. A dialog box opens where
you can enter the complete URL for your list item. When people select
the list item on your blog, they’re taken directly to that URL. When
you finish entering your item, select the Add Item button to add it to
6. When your list is done, click the Save button.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-22, or continue
editing your blog.
list using the
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142 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Including a Link List
A Link List is a simple list of Web sites, blogs, or Web pages that you want to
share with your blog’s readers. The Link List gadget differs from the Blog List
gadget because the Link List gadget doesn’t provide an option to include an
icon, snippet, or other feature from the Web site you’re linking to, which the
Blog List gadget does. Instead, a Link List is exactly what its name implies —
a list of links to other pages online. You can add a Link List to your blog by
following these steps:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Link List. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Link List window opens, shown in Figure 8-23.
2. In the Title box, enter a title for your list.
Choose a name that quickly tells your readers what the list contains.
3. In the Number of Links to Show in List box, enter the number of items
you want to display in your list.
If you leave this box blank, all the items in your list appear on your blog
at all times.
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143Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
4. From the Sorting drop-down menu, choose how you want your list to
sort on your blog.
You can choose to sort your list of links alphabetically, reverse alpha-
betically, or not at all.
The Link List
5. In the New Site URL box, type the complete URL for the Web page you
want to add to your Link List.
Be certain to include the URL for the specific page you want your blog
readers to land on when they select each link in your Link List.
6. In the New Site Name box, enter the text you want to appear in your
Link List to represent the URL you input in Step 6.
The site name you enter appears in your Link List on your blog. When
visitors select that site name, they’re taken to the URL entered in Step 6.
7. After you enter your New Site URL and New Site Name in the desig-
nated boxes, click the Add Link button.
The link to your Link List is added. From here, you can add more links to
your Link List.
8. When your list is done, click the Save button.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-24, or continue
editing your blog.
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144 Part II: Using Google Blogger
A Link List
links to any
Adding a picture
A great way to personalize your blog is to add an image. For example, if you
write a travel blog, you might want to add a picture of your favorite vacation
destination. If you write a business blog, you can add your logo. Alternatively,
you can use the picture gadget to insert an ad or sponsored link. It’s up to
you. Add a picture to your blog as follows:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Picture. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Image window opens, shown in Figure 8-25.
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145Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
2. In the Title box, enter a title for your picture.
If you don’t want to include a title above your picture, leave this box
3. In the Caption box, enter the caption you want to appear beneath
your picture on your blog.
If you don’t want to include a caption with your picture, leave this box
4. In the Link box, enter the URL you want visitors to go to when they
click the picture.
If you don’t want the picture to link to a Web page, leave this box blank.
5. In the Image section, click the From Your Computer radio button if the
picture you want to add to your blog is saved on your computer hard
drive. If the image is stored online, click the From the Web radio
If the image you’re adding is stored on your computer, select the Browse
button and locate the image on your hard drive. If it’s stored online,
enter the URL for the image in the box provided.
6. Ensure the Shrink to Fit check box is selected if you want the entire
image to appear on your blog.
Selecting Shrink to Fit reduces the size of your picture to fit in the space
provided in your blog’s layout.
7. After you configure your picture settings, click the Save button.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-26, or continue
editing your blog.
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146 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Google AdSense is an advertising program that helps bloggers earn money
from their blogs. In simplest terms, Google provides a variety of ad types that
you can choose from to display on your blog. You simply have to sign up for
a Google AdSense account and configure your AdSense settings using the
AdSense gadget in Blogger. When visitors click the ads or perform specific
actions related to the ads that Google serves on your blog, you earn money.
Monetizing your blog with Google AdSense is discussed in detail in Chapter
11, including configuring the AdSense gadget to work on your blog.
A simple way to add a block of text that always appears on your blog is by
using the Text gadget. For example, if you want to include a favorite quote on
your personal blog or a slogan on your business blog, you can do so with the
Text gadget as follows:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Text. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Text window opens, shown in Figure 8-27.
2. In the Title box, enter the title to appear with your text on your blog.
If you don’t want to include a title with your text, leave this box blank.
block of text
to your blog.
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147Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
3. In the Content box, enter the text you want to add to your blog.
Use the icons above the Content box to format your text with bold, ital-
ics, color, links, or block quotes. You can also edit the HTML by clicking
the HTML icon.
4. When you finish entering text, click the Save button.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-28, or continue
editing your blog.
Using a Text
gadgets provided by third parties. Many Web developers create HTML or
steps to add it:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
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148 Part II: Using Google Blogger
2. In the Title box, enter the title you want to appear with your HTML or
If you don’t want to include a title, leave this box blank.
add to your blog.
You can use the icons above the Content box to format your text or edit
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog or continue editing your blog.
Setting up a feed
Feeds are created through a syndication process where the content of your
blog can be viewed through a feed reader or content aggregator. Setting
up your blog’s feed, adding a feed to your blog, and configuring blog sub-
scriptions are discussed in detail in Chapter 9.
The Labels gadget is very useful to your blog readers because it helps them
find content of interest by creating a loose system of categorization. By
selecting a label of interest, a person can find all the posts you’ve ever
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149Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
written on your blog that you saved with that specific label. Labels are a
great way to help readers find your old content, keep readers on your blog
longer, increase page views, and increase reader loyalty simply because
they help visitors find more posts that might be relevant and of interest to
them. More page views typically equates to more (and better) advertising
opportunities, which is important if you want to make money from your blog.
(See Chapter 10.) You can add labels to your blog’s sidebar as follows:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Labels. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Labels window opens, shown in Figure 8-30.
2. In the Title box, enter the heading you want to give your list of labels.
“Labels” is the default title, but you can change it to something else,
such as Categories, if you want.
3. In the Sorting section, click the Alphabetically radio button to sort
your labels in alphabetical order or click the By Frequency radio
button to sort your labels by how often they’re used.
Choose the sort method you think is most helpful to your readers.
4. Look at the Preview section to see how your labels appear on your
The number in parentheses next to each label represents the number of
posts saved with that specific label.
5. When you finish configuring your Labels, click the Save button.
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-31, or continue
editing your blog.
Adding a list
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150 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Setting up a newsreel
If you want to share links to current events or news items on your blog, you
can do so with the Newsreel gadget in Blogger. For example, if you write a
blog about a specific celebrity, you might want to set up a Newsreel gadget
that lists Google News links to items about that celebrity to give your readers
more information. You can set up your blog’s Newsreel gadget to provide
links to news stories by using specific keywords as follows:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Newsreel. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Newsreel window opens, shown in Figure 8-32.
2. In the Title box, enter the title you want to use for your newsreel.
If you don’t want to include a title with your newsreel, leave this box
3. In the Search Expression box, enter the search terms you want to use
to find and post relevant news items.
Google News uses the search terms entered in this box to deliver
relevant news items to your blog. Enter a search phrase or keywords
(separated by commas) to identify how you want Google News to find
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151Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
4. Select the Open Links in New Window check box if you want a new
window to open each time a reader selects a link from your Newsreel
It’s a good idea to select the Open Links in New Window check box so
your visitors aren’t taken away from your blog when they click links in
5. In the Preview section, you can see how your newsreel looks on your
blog. When you finish configuring your newsreel, click the Save
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-33, or continue
editing your blog.
to your blog.
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152 Part II: Using Google Blogger
The Video Bar gadget allows you to share videos from YouTube on your blog.
Rather than including links to videos in your sidebar, you can use the Video
Bar gadget to embed the videos directly in your sidebar, so your visitors can
watch them without leaving your blog. For example, if you write a blog about
a specific musician, you can include videos of that artist’s performances, or if
you write a blog about cooking, you can share videos about cooking gadgets
or cooking techniques. The choice is yours! To add a Video Bar to your blog,
follow these simple steps:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Video Bar. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Configure Video Bar window opens, shown in Figure 8-34.
2. In the Title box, enter the title to appear with your video bar.
If you don’t want to use a title, leave this box blank.
3. In the YouTube section, select the check boxes of the video categories
you want to include in your video bar.
You can choose to include Most Viewed Videos, Top Rated Videos, and
Recently Featured Videos as ranked by YouTube.
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153Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
4. In the Channels box, enter the YouTube channel you want to pull
videos from to show in your video bar.
You can enter more than one channel in this box, but you must separate
each with a comma.
5. In the Keywords box, enter the search words to use to find videos on
YouTube that you want to show in your video bar.
Videos on YouTube typically are saved with keywords to help people
searching for videos find relevant content. Enter specific keywords to
search YouTube and find content for your video bar in this box.
Separate multiple keywords with commas.
6. Look at the Preview section to see how the videos appear on your
blog. When you finish configuring your video bar, click the Save
You return to the Page Elements window where you can follow the link
to view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 8-35, or continue
editing your blog.
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154 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Including the Blogger logo
If you want to add a Blogger logo to your blog, you can do so easily by using
the Logo gadget as follows:
1. In the Add a Gadget window of your Blogger account, click the + sign
to the right of Logo. (Refer to Figure 8-11).
The Choose Logo window opens.
2. Click the radio button next to the Blogger logo you want to add to
your blog, as shown in Figure 8-36.
3. After you make your selection, click the Save button.
You return to the Page Element window where you can follow the link to
view your changes on your blog, or you can continue editing your blog.
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155Chapter 8: Adding Features and Functionality with Elements and Gadgets
Adding Third-Party Gadgets
Earlier in this chapter, I tell you that you can add third-party HTML or
offers links to a variety of third-party gadgets directly through the Add a
Gadget window that you can add to your blog just as you add any of the
Basic Blogger gadgets to your blog as discussed throughout this chapter.
Alternatively, many third-party developers include a simple +Blogger
button, an Add to Your Blog button, or a link that allows you to add a gadget
offered on that developer’s Web page directly to your blog.
When you select a third-party gadget button on another Web site, you’re
taken to your Blogger account. If you’re not logged in, you’re asked to log
into your Blogger account. Select the blog you want to add the gadget to and
view the information for the new gadget. Simply select the Add a Gadget
button, and the code is added to your blog automatically.
Third-party gadgets come from a wide variety of sources. Be sure you’re
confident that the source providing the third-party gadget is trustworthy. You
don’t want to add harmful code to your blog!
Arranging Elements and Gadgets
One of the best parts about Blogger is the simple click-and-drag functionality
that allows users to move page elements and gadgets around in their blog
layouts. To move an individual element or gadget, select it with your mouse
and drag it to a new location. (In Figure 8-1, for example, you could drag your
Blog Posts element to the right of your sidebar elements.) Click the Preview
button to see how your changes look on your blog before you commit to
saving them. When you’re satisfied with your changes, select the Save button
to save them.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your blog’s layout by dragging and
dropping page elements and gadgets to new locations. You can always click
the Cancel button to erase your changes because none of your changes are
permanent until you click the Save button.
You can move any page element or gadget used in your blog except for your
Navbar, Header, and Blog Posts element in some templates.
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156 Part II: Using Google Blogger
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In This Chapter
▶ Increasing visibility and accessibility
▶ Maintaining your blog
▶ Managing performance
Aside from publishing great content, you need to keep up with a number
of other tasks as a blogger, particularly if you want to grow your blog.
Remember, a blog is part of the social web where user-generated content is
where it’s at! What makes blogs unique is their ability to provide two-way
conversation between you and your visitors (and amongst your visitors,
themselves). The success of your blog depends in part on the community that
evolves around it and the relationships you build through it. Much of that
conversation occurs through comments left on your blog, which you can learn
about in this chapter.
Additionally, you can add functions and features to your blog that can
enhance your ability to maintain it and your visitors’ abilities to experience
it. Some of the most popular features are described in this chapter.
Finally, if you want to grow your blog, you need to track your blog statistics
so you can get a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t work
on your blog. Blog statistic trackers allow you to learn where traffic is coming
from, how visitors find your blog, and much more. This chapter helps you
understand how to use blog statistic trackers and how to choose which one
is right for you.
Increasing Visibility and Accessibility
Write your blog posts with the understanding that you’re publishing the
opening of a conversation. The strength of your blog comes from your con-
tent and the community that forms around it. The sense of community in
relation to your blog is built naturally through commenting. However, with
commenting also comes potential problems.
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158 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Unfortunately, not every person who visits your blog has something nice to
say all the time. Furthermore, people around the world use blog comment-
ing as a method to spread spam. A by-product of blogging is dealing with
irrelevant and sometimes hurtful comments. Remember, it’s your blog. To
create the best possible experience for your audience, you have the power to
moderate comments — as you feel appropriate — for your blog. Try to find a
happy medium between keeping the conversation going and removing com-
ments that hurt the discussion.
If your blog posts are the heart of your blog, then the comments left on those
posts represent the blood pumping through the veins. In other words, com-
ments are the lifeline that keeps your blog beating. Blog comments make a
blog interactive and social.
Think of blog comments the same way you would a face-to-face conversation.
Do you prefer it when someone simply speaks at you and does all the talking,
or do you prefer the conversation to offer a mix between both you and the
other person speaking? People feel the same way about conversations via
blog posts and comments. They want to feel like they are valuable, contribut-
ing members of the conversation, not just bystanders.
Comments separate blogs from traditional Web sites and news articles, which
are one-sided and invite readers to participate passively. Comparatively,
blogs are two-sided and invite readers to participate actively. Chapter 12
provides details on how you can specifically use comments to drive traffic to
your blog. For now, it’s important to understand how you can get people talk-
ing and leaving comments directly on your blog posts. Here are a few meth-
ods that can help generate comments:
✓ Ask for them. Simple enough, but many bloggers don’t take a moment to
include a question or phrase that directly asks readers what they think
about the topic discussed in the post. For example, at the end of your
blog posts, include a question, such as, “What do you think?” to invite
readers to leave a comment and join the conversation.
✓ Write about a controversial topic. Nothing brings lurkers out of the
woodwork faster than controversy. Of course, not every blog is an
appropriate place to discuss controversial topics, but if a controversial
topic is relevant to your blog, you might want to write a post about it.
However, be cautious. Controversial topics can be emotional and might
require your strict oversight and moderation to ensure nothing offensive
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159Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
✓ Play devil’s advocate. Take a popular topic related to your blog and
suggest the opposite point of view rather than the publicly accepted
view. For example, if you write a cooking blog and most chefs follow
a specific method to complete a culinary task, such as de-boning a
chicken, suggest a different method as being superior. You’d be sur-
prised how many people will join the conversation to defend the pub-
licly accepted method or provide their opinions on your alternate point
✓ Ask your readers to help you make a decision or answer a question
you have. This method of generating comments can help to personalize
your blog. For example, if you write a parenting blog and you’re having
trouble potty training your child, you could write a post about your
struggles and ask your readers to help you by leaving comments with
their potty-training tips and suggestions.
Most bloggers need months (some even years) to develop a strong and
vocal reader following. It’s your job to experiment with different methods to
get the conversation going and find what works best to get your blog’s visi-
tors talking. After a reader leaves a comment, acknowledge that comment
by responding with a comment of your own. Doing so shows your readers
that you value their opinions, which will make them more likely to comment
Don’t ignore your readers. If a reader leaves a comment, respond to it. When
your audience and comments grow, you’ll find that other visitors will respond
to each other’s comments, meaning you won’t be the only other person in the
conversation. Instead, group discussions will evolve around your blog posts,
and you’ll have the opportunity to let them flourish.
You want to encourage comments on your blog; however, there will come a
time when an offensive comment or spam comment is submitted in response
to one of your blog posts. When that time comes, it’s important that you
remove the offensive or spam comment to maintain the integrity of your blog.
As the number of comments left on your blog increases, you might want to
begin moderating them by using the Comments feature on the Settings tab of
your Blogger dashboard.
You find out how to configure comment settings in Chapter 5. The focus here
is on the moderation elements found within the Comments feature, as shown
in Figure 9-1.
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160 Part II: Using Google Blogger
To configure comment moderation settings, follow these steps:
1. Click the Settings link on your Blogger dashboard.
The Settings window opens with the Basic settings window displayed by
2. Select the Comments tab in the navigation bar near the top of your
The Comments window opens, as shown in Figure 9-1.
3. Scroll to the Comment Moderation section of the Comments window,
as shown in Figure 9-2.
You can configure your comment moderation settings here.
4. Select the radio button next to Always, Only on Posts Older Than #
Days, or Never to configure which comments you want to hold for
review before they publish on your blog.
Selecting Always means all comments are held for moderation. Selecting
Only on Posts Older Than # Days means comments left on posts older
than the number of days you enter in the box are held for moderation.
Selecting Never means that no comments are held for moderation.
When comments are held for moderation, a link appears on your Blogger
dashboard when comments are in the moderation queue for you to
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161Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
5. If you select Always or Only on Posts Older Than # Days in the
Comment Moderation section, an E-mail Address box automatically
appears. Type your e-mail address in this box if you want to be noti-
fied via e-mail when a comment is left on your blog and is in the mod-
An e-mail is sent to the address entered in this box each time a new
comment is held for moderation.
People who are already familiar with reading blogs will understand comment
moderation. Therefore, they won’t be discouraged to find their comments are
held for review. In other words, comment moderation is not perceived by the
blog-reading community as a negative and doesn’t affect your traffic or the
conversation that occurs on your blog.
Creating a comment policy
It’s important to set expectations and rules
for your blog community. Creating a comment
policy is an easy way to communicate what is
and is not acceptable commenting behavior on
your blog. Include information about the types
of comments you will delete from blog posts so
that visitors understand why certain comments
might be deleted or never appear on your blog.
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162 Part II: Using Google Blogger
An important part of growing your blog is making sure that the World Wide
Web knows your blog exists and knows when you publish new content.
Blogger helps you achieve this through its automatic pinging service in con-
junction with Weblogs.com.
In simplest terms, pinging is the process by which a signal is sent to a server
(called a ping server) whenever new content is added to a blog (or another
online source). Weblogs.com is a ping server that aggregates the pings
it receives and makes them available to third parties, such as the search
engines Technorati and Google. If you want your blog posts to appear in
search engine results, make sure your blog is set up to ping.
Blogger users can easily configure their blogs to ping Weblogs.com, the larg-
est and oldest ping server, as follows:
1. From the Blogger dashboard, click the Settings link.
The Basic configuration window opens, as shown in Figure 9-3.
2. Choose Yes from the Let Search Engines Find Your Blog? drop-
By selecting yes, your blog will automatically ping Weblogs.com and
Google Blog Search (an alternate ping server) every time you publish
new content, making it immediately available to search engines.
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163Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
When you become more proficient with blogging, you might hear of other ping
servers and wonder whether you should manually ping them. Typically, the
answer is no. Weblogs.com — the largest ping server — is used by the major
search engines. Many other ping servers simply duplicate a portion of what
Weblogs.com does. Be sure to research other ping servers before you commit
to manually pinging them or add code to your blog to automatically ping them
to ensure it’s worth your time and effort.
Managing feeds and subscriptions
People who like your blog will want to visit whenever you publish new con-
tent. Moreover, if they find the comments on a particular post interesting,
they might want to be notified each time a new comment is added to that
post. Blog feeds and subscriptions provide an easy way for people to access
your new content when it’s published and are particularly helpful to people
who read many blogs each day.
In short, you can create a feed of your blog’s new content that people can
subscribe to. Instead of visiting your blog’s URL everyday (as well as the
URLs of all the other blogs they enjoy reading), subscribers can view all new
content for every blog they subscribe to in one location via a feed reader.
Many feed readers are available, including Google Reader, which is described
in detail later in this chapter.
Setting up your feed
Blogger uses Atom 1.0 language to create and deliver Web feeds. It’s very
easy to set up your blog to generate a feed and to provide links for visitors to
subscribe to your blog’s feed in their feed reader of choice. Here’s how:
1. From the Blogger dashboard, click the Settings link.
The Settings window opens with the Basic settings window displayed by
2. Select the Site Feed tab from the navigation bar near the top of your
The Site Feed window opens, as shown in Figure 9-4.
3. In the Blog Posts Feed drop-down menu, choose Full to make all your
blog posts available in their entirety for subscribers to read in their
A blog posts feed provides the content of your new blog posts to your
subscribers to view in their feed reader. If you prefer, choose Short
from the drop-down menu to provide only an excerpt of each blog post
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164 Part II: Using Google Blogger
through your feed. Subscribers need to click through from their feed
reader to your blog to read the entire post. Alternatively, choose None
from the drop-down menu if you don’t want to offer post feed subscrip-
tions to your blog readers.
If you want to grow your blog, it’s a good idea to offer all feed and sub-
scription options to your visitors.
4. In the Blog Comment Feed drop-down menu, choose the Full, Short, or
None setting to configure the feed settings for your blog comments.
A blog comment feed provides all new comments left on all your blog
posts to subscribers to view in their feed reader. Each setting works the
same as those described in Step 3 above for the Blog Posts Feed setting.
5. In the Per-Post Comment Feeds drop-down box, choose the Full, Short,
or None setting to configure the feed settings for comments on indi-
vidual blog posts.
A per-post comment feed provides a person’s feed reader all new com-
ments left only on specific posts the viewer subscribes to. Each setting
works the same as those described in Step 3 above for the Blog Posts
6. In the Post Feed Redirect URL box, enter the feed URL from
FeedBurner or a third party feed provider.
If you want to use a feed provider other than Blogger’s Atom 1.0 service,
you can create your feed through a third party, such as FeedBurner,
and then enter the URL for your blog’s new feed in this box. The nearby
Using FeedBurner sidebar discusses FeedBurner in greater detail.
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165Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
7. In the Post Feed Footer box, enter the text you want to display with
your subscription link after each post on your blog.
If you’re using a third party feed provider such as Feedburner (see the
nearby sidebar), enter the post feed code supplied by that provider in
8. When you finish making edits, click the Save Settings button.
Your feed is configured. Next, you need to make it easy for visitors to
subscribe to your feed.
9. Select the Layout tab from the top navigation bar on your screen.
The Page Elements window opens, as shown in Figure 9-5.
10. Click the Add a Gadget link.
The Add a Gadget window opens, as shown in Figure 9-6.
11. Click the + icon to the right of the Subscription Links gadget.
The Configure Subscription Links window opens, as shown in Figure 9-7.
12. In the Title box, type the text you want to use as a title for your
You can leave the title’s default text, Subscribe To, or choose another
13. Click the Save button to save your changes.
You return to the Page Elements page where you can follow the link to
view your changes on your blog, as shown in Figure 9-8.
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166 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Add a title to
make it easy
Subscribing to blogs
The longer you blog, the more blogs you’re apt to read on a daily basis.
Instead of opening all of those blogs each day to see what people are talking
about, you can subscribe to your favorite blogs and read all the updates in a
single location. Feed readers save you time and effort.
Many feed readers are available, including Google Reader. When you start
your Google Blogger blog, you create a Google account, as I describe in
Chapter 4. You can use that Google Account username and password to log
into Google Reader and begin subscribing to blog feeds.
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167Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
on a blog.
To subscribe to a blog’s feed, simply select the subscribe icon or link found
on that blog. Typically, a window or list will open showing the various feed
readers you can choose from to subscribe to that feed, as shown in Figure
9-9. Select Google Reader from the list. You’re prompted to log into Google
Reader to complete your subscription. The next time you want to see the new
content from that blog (and others that you subscribe to), you can simply log
into Google Reader and view that content in a single location.
You can learn more about feeds and subscriptions in Syndicating Web Sites
with RSS Feeds For Dummies by Ellen Finkelstein (Wiley, 2005).
Two different feed formats are used primarily —
Atom 1.0 and RSS 2.0. Most feed readers can
handle both languages, but there may come a
time when you decide you want to offer an
RSS subscription option on your blog. If that’s
the case, FeedBurner is one of the most popu-
lar choices for burning an RSS feed. You can
visit www.FeedBurner.com, register for
an account, and go through the simple steps
provided to burn your blog’s feed. When you’re
done configuring your blog’s RSS feed, simply
copy the code provided by FeedBurner into a
described in Chapter 8, and you’re done.
You can also include an option to subscribe to
your blog via e-mail through FeedBurner. Rather
than using a feed reader, e-mail subscribers
receive an e-mail when new content is pub-
lished on your blog. That’s just one more way
you can enhance your visitors’ experiences on
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168 Part II: Using Google Blogger
Adding More Features to Your Blog
When you become an experienced blogger, you may want to try new tools
and features that can make your life as a blogger easier. Although getting
stuck in a rut of using the same, comfortable tools every day is easy, don’t be
afraid to seek more advanced tools and options. Some of the most popular
advanced tools are described here.
Instant blogging with BlogThis!
Sometimes you might find an article, a video, or other content online that you
want to write about on your blog. Rather than taking the time to open a new
browser window and log into your Blogger account to write your new post,
you can use BlogThis! to blog instantly.
BlogThis! is a tool that can be added to your Web browser’s toolbar. When
you see something of interest online that you want to write about, simply
select the BlogThis! icon from your browser’s toolbar. A stripped-down
Blogger post editor window opens where you can type your post and pub-
lish it directly from the BlogThis! window, as shown in Figure 9-10. To make
things even easier, if you highlight text on the Web site you’re visiting before
you select the BlogThis! icon from your browser toolbar, the BlogThis!
window opens with the selected text already inserted into the post editor.
You can’t blog much faster than that!
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169Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
If you use Internet Explorer from a Windows-based computer, you can access
the BlogThis! icon from the Send To link on the Google toolbar. If you use
Mozilla Firefox as your Web browser, an add-on is available through the
Firefox Web site that adds the BlogThis! link to your right-click menu. If you
use a different browser, you can drag the BlogThis! link to your browser’s link
toolbar from Blogger’s online help site (http://help.blogger.com).
Sending posts with BlogSend
Blogger gives you the option to automatically send each new post that you
publish on your blog to a specific e-mail address via BlogSend. To configure
the BlogSend feature, follow these steps:
1. From the Blogger dashboard, click the Settings link.
The Settings window from your Blogger account opens with the Basic
settings window displayed by default.
2. Select the Email tab from the navigation bar near the top of your
The Email window opens, as shown in Figure 9-11.
3. In the BlogSend Address box, type the e-mail address that you want
your new blog posts to be sent to.
In this box, you can enter ten e-mail addresses separated with commas.
4. Select the Save Settings button to save your changes.
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170 Part II: Using Google Blogger
to a specific
Publishing posts with Mail-to-Blogger
With Mail-to-Blogger, you can publish blog posts through any e-mail program
without logging into Blogger. To use this functionality, you need to configure
the e-mail address and settings for Mail-to-Blogger as follows:
1. In the Email window shown in Figure 9-11, enter a secret word of
your choice in the box provided to create your private Mail-to-Blogger
You send blog posts directly to this address via e-mail to publish to
Do not share your Mail-to-Blogger e-mail address. If it gets into the
wrong hands, a malicious person could post on your blog pretending to
2. Select the radio button next to either Publish Emails Immediately or
Save Emails as Draft Posts.
If you select Publish Emails Immediately, any posts you send to your
Mail-to-Blogger e-mail address automatically publish on your blog. If you
select the Save Emails as Draft Posts option, the posts you send to your
Mail-to-Blogger e-mail address sit in the draft queue within your Blogger
account until you log into Blogger and manually publish them.
3. Select the Save Settings button to save your changes.
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171Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
Before you send posts using Mail-to-Blogger, understanding how your e-mail
client handles text formatting is important. For example, if your e-mail client
uses plain-text formatting, then any formatting you apply to your text, such
as bold, italics, and so on (even if you do so using HTML coding), won’t
appear in your post when it publishes on your blog. However, if your e-mail
client uses HTML formatting, then any formatting you apply should appear in
your post when it publishes on your blog.
When you write posts using Mail-to-Blogger, the title of the e-mail message
publishes as the title of your blog post, and the content of your e-mail mes-
sage publishes as the content of your blog post. You can also include an
image with your post by attaching it to your e-mail message.
To determine how your e-mail client works with the Mail-to-Blogger function-
ality, try publishing some test posts with Mail-to-Blogger that you can delete
after they publish.
If your e-mail program automatically adds a signature or copyright message to
the end of your e-mail messages, insert #end at the end of your post to ensure
that the additional text does not publish with your blog post.
Understanding basic HTML
HTML is an acronym for Hypertext Markup Language, which is the primary
programming language used to write Web pages. While Blogger provides a
simple WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) post editor interface that
allows you to publish blog posts without any knowledge of HTML, learning
some HTML can only help you succeed as a blogger.
Understanding just a few HTML commands can help you enhance the format-
ting of your blog posts, your sidebar, and more. Although it’s not necessary
to become an HTML expert, every piece of HTML that you learn helps you
grow as a blogger.
In simplest terms, HTML uses tags to provide instructions to your Web
browser about how to display text and other elements. For example, if you
want a specific word to appear in bold, you need to tell the Web browser to
do so with HTML tags. Each instruction is provided by using an opening and
closing HTML tag. In other words, if you want to tell your Web browser to
display a word in bold, you type the opening HTML tag followed by the word
you want bolded and the closing HTML tag. HTML tags are always enclosed
in brackets, and the closing tag is always preceded with a slash.
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172 Part II: Using Google Blogger
For example, if you want the sentence “The sun is yellow” to display online as
“The sun is yellow,” you tell your Web browser to do so as follows:
The sun is <start bold>yellow<end bold>
Of course, the example above uses laymen’s terms within the HTML coding
brackets to demonstrate how the HTML coding communicates to your Web
browser. The actual HTML coding would appear as follows:
The sun is <b>yellow</b>
Looking at the coding example above, you can determine that the HTML tag
<b> tells your Web browser to bold the text that follows the tag. The HTML
tag </b> tells your Web browser to stop bold.
To help you get started, following are some of the most common HTML tags
that bloggers use. You can learn more about HTML in HTML, XHTML & CSS,
6th Edition For Dummies by Ed Tittel and Jeff Noble (Wiley, 2008).
✓ Bold: <b> and </b>
✓ Italics: <i> and </i>
✓ Underline: <u> and </u>
✓ Paragraph: <p> and </p>
✓ Line break: <br>
✓ Hyperlink: <a href=“ENTER URL HERE”>text you want to
appear as the link</a>
✓ Font size: <font size=2> and </font>
✓ Font color: <font color=green> and </font>
✓ Numbered list: <ol> to start the list, <li> before each line item, </ol>
to end the list
✓ Bulleted list: <ul> to start the list, <li> before each line item, </ul> to
end the list
An important part of growing your blog is understanding where visitors are
coming from, what content they find and like, and what they do when they’re
on your blog. This is where Web analytics are useful. Luckily, a number of
free blog statistic trackers are available to use on your blog.
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173Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
When you begin to analyze your blog statistics, do so with realistic short-
term and long-term goals in mind. Don’t expect to receive thousands of visi-
tors within a month or two of launching your blog. In time, traffic to your blog
will grow, particularly when you begin promoting your blog, which I discuss
in Chapter 12. By analyzing your blog’s traffic, you can find what efforts are
(and aren’t) working, so you can concentrate your time on activities that
truly boost traffic and make your blog more valuable and enjoyable to every-
one who visits.
Tracking your stats
Now that you know it’s important to track your blog’s statistics, you’re prob-
ably wondering why. In short, blog statistics can help you understand:
✓ Where visitors to your blog are coming from. What Web sites, blogs, or
search engines are helping them find your blog.
✓ What keywords people enter into search engines that lead them to
✓ How many posts visitors look at before they leave your blog.
✓ How many new visitors come to your blog each day versus repeat visitors.
✓ The length of time that people spend on your blog.
✓ The most frequently viewed posts on your blog.
These are just a few of the statistics you can track on your blog. How
can these statistics help you grow your blog? Take a look at the following
✓ Where visitors to your blog are coming from. When you know which
Web sites and blogs are sending traffic your way, you can concentrate
your marketing efforts on those sites. For example, you can leave com-
ments on those blogs or mention their posts with links to the original
post on your blog. It’s a proven traffic generator that you can exploit
and grow further.
✓ What keywords people enter. When you know which keywords people
use to find your blog, you can further optimize your blog posts to get
more search results by using those popular keywords or keyword
✓ How many posts visitors look at. If you see that most visitors look at
more than one post on your blog, you can feel confident that you’re pub-
lishing compelling content and building a loyal readership.
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174 Part II: Using Google Blogger
✓ How many new visitors come to your blog versus repeat visitors.
Ultimately, you want a mix of loyal, repeat visitors and new visitors to
find your blog each day.
✓ The length of time people spend on your blog. If people arrive at your
blog and leave immediately, they’re not the type of traffic you want, and
you need to adjust your efforts to find qualified traffic or enhance your
content to be more compelling.
✓ The most frequently viewed posts on your blog. When you know your
most popular posts, you can exploit that knowledge by linking to those
posts from new posts, promoting those posts through your marketing
efforts, and writing similar posts in the future.
You have countless ways to use your blog statistics to learn about your
blog’s audience and what they want from your blog. Review your blog’s sta-
tistics to see if there are any trends or patterns. Try different writing and pro-
motional techniques, and then analyze your blog statistics to see how those
techniques affect your blog’s traffic and performance.
Choosing a statistic tracker
Many Web analytics tools are available to bloggers. Some are provided free
whereas others have a cost. Take some time to research the various Web
analytics providers to find the one that offers you the functionality you want
at the price you’re willing to pay.
Most Web analytics tools integrate with your blog through a simple copy-and-
paste procedure. You register for an account, enter information about your
blog, and a snippet of code automatically generates that you copy and paste
It’s a simple process but one that helps your blog to grow immensely.
Several free Web analytics tools provide sufficient data and functionality for
typical bloggers. Following is an introduction to several popular Web analytics
providers that offer a variety of free blog statistic tracking services.
✓ Google Analytics. Google Analytics integrates seamlessly with Google
Blogger, as you’d expect. It’s considered one of the best blog statistic
trackers because it provides comprehensive information to users at no
charge. You can create custom reports and even track advertising and
✓ StatCounter. StatCounter delivers basic blog statistics to users for free.
However, the free version of StatCounter displays only the last 100 visi-
tors to your blog in its statistics. This may or may not be adequate for
you depending on your goals for your blog and the level of tracking
detail you want. StatCounter also offers a package that delivers addi-
tional data and functionality for a fee.
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175Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
✓ FreeStats. FreeStats provides a variety of reports for bloggers to analyze
their blog traffic patterns. As the name implies, FreeStats is available
✓ SiteMeter. SiteMeter offers a basic amount of blog statistics for free, but
only displays information about the last 100 visitors to your blog (simi-
lar to StatCounter). Depending on your requirements, this might not
be enough for you. SiteMeter also offers a package that provides more
information and data for a fee.
Some of the blog statistic trackers and tools available to you online are not
compatible with blogs hosted through Blogger (meaning they have a Blogspot
extension in the URL). Hosting your blog on a third-party server gives you
maximum control and provides access to the widest array of blogging tools,
including blog statistic trackers. You can read more about third-party blog
hosting in Chapter 16.
The Web analytics tool you choose is entirely up to you. In fact, you might
want to test the free versions from multiple providers to compare their offer-
ings and find the one that works best for you. If you require more robust
statistics, you might want to consider upgrading to a package that provides
more features and functionality for a fee. However, most bloggers find the
free tools adequate.
Deciding what to track
When you first open your blog statistic reports, you probably won’t know
where to begin. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Begin by focusing on the “big ticket”
stats, such as page views, referrers, and keywords. In time, you’ll learn to use
the various reports and data available through your blog statistic tracker.
You’ll even learn how to analyze those numbers and apply your learning to
your blog. For a complete education about Web analytics, check out Web
Analytics For Dummies by Pedro Sostre and Jennifer LeClaire (Wiley, 2007).
For now, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with some of the most
commonly analyzed blog statistics.
Always make sure you set the time period you want to analyze before you
begin to review your blog stats.
✓ Hits: Your blog statistic tracker counts a hit every time a file downloads
from your blog. Each page on your blog can have multiple files on it.
When a person accesses a page on your blog, every file on that page
downloads and counts as a hit. For example, if your page includes a blog
post with multiple images in it, each of those images downloads when a
visitor accesses that page, which gives an inflated view of the popularity
of your blog. Therefore, hits aren’t typically used to determine Web traf-
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176 Part II: Using Google Blogger
✓ Visits: Each time your Web site is accessed (any page), a visit is counted
in your blog statistic tracker. This means a person who visits more than
once is counted multiple times. Therefore, visits give an inflated view of
your blog’s popularity and aren’t typically used to determine Web traffic
✓ Visitors: Accurately tracking the number of visitors who enter your blog
is challenging for blog statistic trackers. Unless visitors register and sign
in to access pages on your blog, it’s close to impossible to ensure repeat
the number of visitors who are counted twice, but if people clear their
cookies, there’s no way for the stat tracker to identify them. That is, if
visitors return after clearing their cookies, they’re counted as a new visi-
tor. Therefore, tracking visitors is more accurate than tracking visits in
terms of determining the true metrics related to your blog.
Some blog statistic trackers break this stat into unique visitors (those
who visit one time only) and repeat visitors (those who visit more than
once), but these numbers can never be 100 percent accurate. Use them
for guidance but do so with caution. Some of the high-level visitor infor-
mation provided by Google Analytics is shown in Figure 9-12.
✓ Page Views: Page Views is the most commonly used statistic that blog-
gers track because it provides the clearest picture of how popular a blog
is. Each page viewed on your blog regardless of who views it counts as
a page view. Online advertisers use page views as the standard of mea-
surement to calculate advertising rates. More page views equals more
people seeing the ad and potentially clicking it or acting on it. Figure 9-13
shows visits versus page views data provided by SiteMeter.
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177Chapter 9: Managing Your Blog
✓ Top Pages Viewed: Blog statistic trackers typically provide a report that
shows your blog’s most viewed pages (which correlate to specific posts
if you choose Enable Post Pages in your blog settings, as I describe in
Chapter 5). Monitoring Top Pages Viewed can help you focus your con-
tent creation and marketing efforts.
✓ Top Paths Taken: Paths represent the way visitors travel through your
blog — the links they follow, the content that’s most interesting to them,
and the features that keep them on your blog longer.
✓ Top Entry Pages: Top Entry Pages represent the pages that people most
frequently land on when they visit your blog. This statistic is helpful in
terms of finding where visitors are coming from. Using the Top Paths
Taken statistic with the Top Entry Pages statistic can provide valuable
✓ Top Exit Pages: Top Exit Pages represent the last pages that people
view before leaving your blog. This statistic can help you identify con-
tent that is underperforming.
✓ Bounce Rate: Bounce rate is a useful statistic that shows you the per-
centage of people who leave your blog immediately after finding it. The
bounce rate represents people who didn’t find what they were looking
for when they were led to your blog. The lower this number, the more
effective your marketing and search engine optimization efforts are;
meaning the people who are finding your blog are the ones that you
want to find it. In other words, your search engine optimization and mar-
keting efforts are reaching your blog’s target audience.
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178 Part II: Using Google Blogger
✓ Referrers: One of the most powerful statistics you can access through
your Web analytics, referrers are the Web sites, blogs, and search
engines that lead visitors to your blog. Often the Referrers statistic is
broken down further into a category for search engines only and another
for non-search engines. You can find where traffic is coming from and
determine where to focus your marketing efforts going forward.
✓ Keywords and Keyword Phrases: Another powerful statistic you can
access through your Web analytics is Keywords and Keyword Phrases.
Search engines have the potential to drive large numbers of visitors to
your blog. By analyzing the keywords and keyword phrases that people
type into search engines, which lead them to find your blog, you can
focus your future search engine optimization efforts and content cre-
ation efforts to target those keywords.
Don’t think you’ll be a master at blog statistic analysis overnight. It takes
time to understand how to read your blog’s statistics and then effectively
apply them to your blog plan to meet your blogging goals. Keep in mind that
there are no regulations or rules related to Web analytics; the statistics one
provider delivers could be very different from those delivered by another
provider. With that in mind, you might want to try a few different stat track-
ers and compare the results delivered by each until you find the one that
works best for you and appears to offer the most accurate data.
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In this part . . .
The name of the game is blog monetization, and you
have many ways to take part in it. The main issue
is figuring out which moneymaking programs are best
for you and your blog, and you can find answers in
Chapter 10, which shows you some of the most popular
In the area of quick and easy monetization, Google
AdSense is in a class all its own, so Chapter 11 is devoted
to that topic. Find out how to start your own Google
AdSense account and add advertisements to your blog so
you can start making money.
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In This Chapter
▶ Finding ways to make money from your blog
▶ Determining which moneymaking options you should try
Advertising is the most common form of blog monetization, and you can
quite easily integrate advertising into your Blogger blog. Including
online ads in your blog is a simple way to earn a passive income from your
blogging efforts. In many cases, you simply need to register for an account
with an ad network or affiliate marketing program, copy some code provided
to you into a new gadget in your blog, and you’re done. Ads are automatically
displayed to your visitors based on the criteria you selected during the regis-
tration process in each specific advertising program.
Blog advertising is growing in popularity not just among bloggers looking for
ways to earn extra money but also among companies and advertisers that
recognize the power of the blogosphere and the broad reach many blogs pro-
vide. As your blog traffic grows, more and more opportunities will open to
you to attract bigger advertisers with bigger budgets. You’ll also have more
opportunities to join ad networks and affiliate programs that have minimum
participation restrictions based on page views or subscribers, for example. In
other words, the bigger your blog becomes, the more money you can make
from it through advertising.
The key to making money from your blog is understanding the moneymaking
options available to you and experimenting with those opportunities until
you find the right mix for your blog. Much of your moneymaking success lies
in finding the right balance of ads that your visitors appreciate and act on.
This chapter breaks down some of the most popular blog monetization
options so you can begin experimenting on your own blog.
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182 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Making Money from Your Blog
Making money from your blog, or blog monetization, doesn’t happen over-
night. You won’t place an ad on your blog today and find money rolling in
tomorrow. Instead, blog monetization takes time, practice, experimentation,
and patience to flourish. Much of your moneymaking success comes from
your blog visitors’ reactions to your efforts, so it takes time to figure out
what your readers respond to best. Just as people respond differently to tele-
vision or magazine ads, they also respond differently to ads that appear on
blogs. If your goal is to make money from blog advertising, you need to be
prepared to test ads and track the results to find the right mix to maximize
It’s equally important to understand that different advertising opportunities
might perform better on your blog than others strictly because of the nature
of your blog’s topic. For example, some blog topics are perfectly suited for
affiliate advertising with a directly related affiliate program. Consider a blog
about pregnancy that uses affiliate advertising from a top baby store.
Naturally, this ad program would work better on that blog than an affiliate
program that sells unrelated products, such as humidors and tobacco prod-
ucts. Some blog topics are perfect for blog advertising and offer a wealth of
opportunities for the blogger to choose from, and other blog topics are a bit
more challenging to monetize. The challenge for the blogger is always the
same: Find the best ad opportunities that deliver the best results.
Understanding monetization options
You can add advertisements to your blog in a variety of ways to derive a pas-
sive income. Each one requires a different amount of real estate (or space) on
your blog, and each one brings in a different amount of money, depending on
your blog’s topic and readers. Most blog advertising opportunities offer one
of three primary payment methods for bloggers:
✓ Pay-per-click: The advertiser pays the blogger every time someone
clicks the ad placed on the blog.
✓ Pay-per-impression: The advertiser pays the blogger every time the ad
appears on the blog — or every time a visitor views the page where the
ad is placed. Typically, pay-per-impression ads are paid using a “per
1,000 impressions” model or a similar pay structure rather than pay on
✓ Pay-per-action: The advertiser pays the blogger every time a person
clicks the ad and performs an action, such as making a purchase or
registering for an account.
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183Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
Examining the pros and cons
of monetization options
With each advertising opportunity comes different guidelines and restrictions.
Make sure that you read all the terms and conditions of each online advertis-
ing network or affiliate program you join. Also ensure that those programs are
in line with the Google and Blogger terms and conditions you agreed to when
you created your blogging accounts, as described in Chapter 4.
Additionally, listen to the online buzz to hear current information about the
pros and cons of different advertising opportunities. For example, bloggers
and search engine optimization experts warn against writing sponsored
reviews (described later in this chapter) of products or Web sites without
fully disclosing that you’re being paid to write those reviews. If you write
them, you run the risk of having Google drop your blog from its search
results, making your blog’s traffic drop significantly. It’s these types of con-
versations that can help you make decisions about the types of advertising
you want to include on your blog. Spend time on the Blogger Buzz blog
(http://buzz.blogger.com) and the Blogger Google Group (http://
groups.google.com/group/blogger-help) to hear the discussions
around blog advertising, and then pick and choose the moneymaking oppor-
tunities that meet your current and future needs and goals.
It’s your content, not your ads, that makes visitors return to your blog. Don’t
cover your blog in so many ads that visitors have difficulty finding your content.
Knowing what to look for
in a monetization option
Each blog monetization option that you consider offers different payments
and different rules. Make sure that you understand both before you dive
in to joining a new advertising program. When you choose a new money-
making option to experiment with on your blog, make sure that it offers
✓ Acceptable payment rates: Some advertising opportunities pay much
more than others, but if your visitors aren’t interested in those ads,
those high rates might not help you earn more money. Balance the pay-
ment rate with the usefulness of the ad for your audience to find the
best opportunities for your blog.
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184 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
✓ Clear payment terms: Avoid advertisers that don’t offer clear and
acceptable payment terms. Make sure that you know when you’ll be
paid and how. For example, some advertisers don’t pay bloggers until
they earn $100. It can take some bloggers quite a long time to reach the
$100 threshold for payout. Additionally, some advertisers pay only by
way of PayPal (www.PayPal.com). If you don’t want to have a PayPal
account and don’t want to open one, look for alternate advertising
✓ Free and effective reporting tools: Be certain that the advertising pro-
grams you join offer free reporting tools and that the tools provide you
with a real-time picture of your earnings and performance.
✓ Detailed tracking tools: Reporting tools must allow you to track your
detailed performance, including earnings per ad unit and earnings by
day. Don’t settle for high-level information. The only way you can truly
create a long-term, targeted advertising plan for your blog is to analyze
the results of each program in detail.
✓ Easy-to-understand terms and conditions: Read the terms and condi-
tions to ensure that you understand them and that they answer all your
questions. Don’t be afraid to do a Google search on a new advertising
opportunity to see what other bloggers have to say about it before you
make your decision to join.
✓ Support: If you have a problem with an ad unit or a tool, you have to be
able to find help when you need it. Make sure that the advertising pro-
grams you sign up with offer support by e-mail or telephone.
Choosing Blogger Monetization Options
After you decide to include advertising on your blog, you need to begin
reviewing advertising and moneymaking options to find the ones you want to
try. Most bloggers begin with monetization programs that are
✓ Easy to add to their blogs
✓ Open to all bloggers regardless of traffic
As a Blogger user, you can sign up for a wide variety of blog monetization
programs. This chapter highlights some of the most popular programs that
bloggers typically try first.
Your blog monetization efforts don’t have to stop with the programs dis-
cussed in this chapter. You can find out more about blog monetization from
a variety of Web sites and blogs, including the About.com Guide to Web
Logs (http://weblogs.about.com). Additionally, you can read Blogging
For Dummies, by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley (Wiley), which includes
information about several blog monetization programs.
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185Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
Not all blog monetization options are equal. Take the time to research a new
opportunity before you apply or implement it on your blog. The rules and
requirements for different blog monetization options change frequently,
and a program that might not work on your blog today may work perfectly
tomorrow. For example, some moneymaking programs aren’t compatible
with Blogger blogs now, but they might be compatible later. Always check
the restrictions and ensure that your blog qualifies to participate in a blog
monetization program before you spend time applying.
Contextual link ads
Contextual link ads can consist of text or images and are displayed to visitors
based on the content on the page where they appear. Because these ads are
by definition contextually relevant to the content of the page, visitors are
quite likely to be interested in them and click on them. Contextual ads are
typically pay-per-click ads, so the blogger is paid when a person clicks the
ad. Advertisers generally bid on keywords in pay-per-click contextual link
ad programs, so bloggers who write about topics with popular keywords
(that is, keywords that many advertisers bid on, driving the price for those
keywords up, similar to an auction) are likely to earn more than bloggers
who write about topics with less popular keywords. Of course, showing ads
based on higher-value keywords is helpful to increase your earning potential,
but that money doesn’t come in unless visitors click those ads. The remedy:
Experimentation. To find the best contextual link ad strategy, you need
to test ad placement, keywords, and ad types to determine which ads are
driving the most interest and revenue.
Google AdSense is the most popular contextual link, pay-per-click ad program
available to bloggers. Because Google owns both AdSense and Blogger, adding
Google AdSense ads to your Blogger blog is extremely easy. Chapter 11
describes Google AdSense and explains in detail how to add it to your blog.
Kontera is another popular contextual link advertising program. When you sign
up to serve Kontera ads on your blog, its ContentLink function automatically
links contextually relevant keywords in your blog posts to ads. Those keywords
appear with a double underline within your existing blog post. Figure 10-1
shows how Kontera ads look on a blog. When a visitor hovers the mouse cursor
over the Kontera linked text, a small bubble box appears and displays an adver-
tisement served by one of Kontera’s advertisers. When a visitor to your blog
clicks that advertisement, the advertiser’s Web site opens in the browser.
Kontera works harmoniously with Google AdSense and is open to bloggers
whose blogs meet the current requirements outlined on the Kontera Web site.
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186 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
by a double
One of the best features about Kontera is its virtual lack of a footprint on your
blog. Rather than use space in your sidebar or header or between your blog
posts, Kontera in-text ads appear within your blog posts and link relevant ads
to the words that are already used in your posts. It’s a simple way to add a
moneymaking option with some upfront effort but little ongoing work to
keep it going. You can customize the look of your ContentLink ads, create
filtering instructions to define the number of ads and advertisers allowed and
customize other factors, too. Of course, for optimum results, you should
monitor keyword performance and write your blog posts with high-performing
keywords in mind.
The key to a successful blog is quality content. Don’t write with keywords as
your priority. If you write for ads, your visitors will know it. Ads should enhance
people’s visits on your blog, not overpower them or detract from them.
To add Kontera contextual link ads to your blog, follow these steps:
1. Visit www.Kontera.com and sign up for an account.
Complete the online application to request a Kontera publisher account.
2. After your application is accepted, simply sign in to your account and
click the ContentLink Setup tab that allows you to add Kontera in-text
ads to your Blogger blog, as shown in Figure 10-2.
After you add Kontera in-text ads to your blog, analyze the ads that are served
based on your content to ensure that they’re relevant and helpful to your
visitors. Also, review your Kontera-provided reports to ensure that the ads
are driving revenue. Some people find Kontera ads to be obtrusive. You must
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187Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
analyze your results and your blog traffic statistics to ensure that the amount
of money you make from Kontera ads is positive in relation to the effect of
those ads on your blog’s traffic.
Text link ads
Text link ads appear as simple text links on your blog based on the content of
your pages. In short, when you join a text link advertising network, you
submit specific pages of your blog into the network’s inventory. Advertisers
look for inventory pages that are likely to attract visitors who will be inter-
ested in their products and then purchase text link ad space on those pages.
When space is purchased on your blog, a text link ad from that advertiser
automatically appears in that space.
Text link ad rates, which are typically set by the advertising network, are usu-
ally based on a blog’s Google page rank and Alexa rank. Although these two
metrics aren’t perfect, they comprise the standard that most text link brokers
use to determine the amount of traffic to your blog and attach an advertising
rate to it. Be sure, therefore, to submit your most popular blog pages to be
included in a broker’s inventory.
The popular text link broker Text-Link-Ads helps bloggers get paid for publish-
ing text link ads, as shown in Figure 10-3. Ad publishers receive 50 percent of
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188 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
the sale price for each text link sold on your blog, and Text-Link-Ads integrate
seamlessly with other advertising programs, such as Google AdSense. As a
Text-Link-Ad publisher, you can approve or deny all ads that are purchased to
display on your blog. The payout threshold is low, at just $25, and payment is
sent by way of check or PayPal on the first day of every month.
Even though the payout threshold is low, which makes Text-Link-Ads attrac-
tive to bloggers with lower traffic levels, smaller bloggers find it difficult to
get accepted as a Text-Link-Ads publisher. Blogs with a Google page rank
of 4 or higher are automatically accepted; blogs with a rank lower than 4 are
manually reviewed and typically aren’t accepted. The price of ads shown
on your blog is set by Text-Link-Ads using a proprietary algorithm that first
considers your blog’s traffic and page rank statistics.
To become a Text-Link-Ads publisher, follow these simple steps:
1. Visit www.Text-Link-Ads.com and complete the online publisher
When your application is approved, you receive an e-mail providing you
with your account information.
2. Sign in to your Text-Link-Ads account and follow the instructions to
install the ad code on your blog in the Get Ad Code section of your
You can find here the ad code to copy and paste into your blog, and
instructions for doing so. After the code is pasted into your blog, ads
begin appearing on your blog as they’re purchased.
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189Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
The popular text link ad broker TextLinkBrokers accepts applications from
blogs with a Google page rank of 1 or higher. This site sets the ad rate for text
link ads that appear on your blog based on your Google page rank and an
evaluation of your blog. The ad publisher can approve or deny ads, and the
payout threshold is $100. Overall, the process works similarly to Text-Link-Ads
(see the earlier section “Text-Link-Ads”).
To become a TextLinkBrokers publisher, visit www.TextLinkBrokers.com
and complete the Publisher sign-up form, as shown in Figure 10-4. When you
submit your sign-up form, TextLinkBrokers reviews your application and
e-mails you with an acceptance or rejection. It also notifies you of the amount
you’ll be paid for links if your application is accepted and sends you a list of
questions to answer in order to add your site to the TextLinkBrokers inventory.
When your site is added to the TextLinkBrokers inventory, an e-mail is sent
to you with the information you need to create an account in the Partner’s
Console section of the TextLinkBrokers Web site.
After your partner’s console account is created, you receive a link to activate
When an advertiser selects your blog to place a text link ad, you receive an
e-mail directing you to log in to your account to view details of the request.
The publisher’s terms of service with TextLinkBrokers says that you agree to
place ad requests (or deny them) on your blog within two business days.
at an online
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190 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Impression-based ads pay you as the publisher based on the number of times
an ad is shown on your blog. With each page view where the ad is placed,
that ad is delivered to a visitor, which counts as an impression. Cost-per-
impression ads typically pay bloggers a small fee, such as ten cents per 1,000
impressions, so you’re not likely to make a lot of money from these ads
unless your site generates a lot of traffic each day. However, the ads are easy
to set up and work particularly well below the fold (the area of the page that
isn’t visible unless you scroll down the page).
ValueClick is an easy-to-use, impression-based advertising program that
offers banner ads, pop-unders, videos, and rich-media ads, as shown in
Figure 10-5. As the publisher, you can set the minimum cost per impression
(CPM) that you’re willing to accept on your blog. The minimum traffic
level to become a ValueClick publisher is 3,000 impressions per month, and
you can pick and choose which types of ads you want to run on your site.
Text link ad warnings
Text link ads are an easy and unobtrusive blog
monetization option, but they have some draw-
backs. First and foremost, text link ads are often
linked with a drop in Google search rankings. In
short, many search engine optimization experts
believe that Google downgrades sites that pub-
lish text link ads. The reason for the downgrade
comes from Google’s attempt to weed out Web
sites that try to “buy” top search rankings.
Having more incoming links from popular blogs
and Web sites equates to receiving a higher
Google ranking. However, when those links are
paid for, the popularity of that Web site is unnat-
urally inflated. Google penalizes Web sites that
pay for links and those that publish them,
according to many online experts, by lowering
their Google search rankings.
It has been suggested that bloggers can miti-
gate Google penalties and still monetize their
blogs with text ads by incorporating the
NoFollow HTML tag with text ad links. However,
doing so isn’t beneficial to the advertisers
paying for those links, which may lead to fewer
text link ad buyers on your blog or your blog’s
removal from text link ad programs that rely on
search engine recognition of those links. You
can read more about the NoFollow tag in Search
Engine Optimization For Dummies, by Peter Kent
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191Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
ads come in
a variety of
Take the time to read the complete ValueClick terms of service before you
apply. The site has a wide variety of restrictions related to the types of blogs
(for example, you must host your blog on your own domain, as discussed in
Chapter 16) and blog content (no non-English pages or excessive advertising)
that are accepted into the ValueClick ad program.
To sign up to become part of the ValueClick ad network, follow these steps:
` 1. Visit www.ValueClickMedia.com and click the Join button in the
Publishers section of the Web site.
This step opens the online application.
2. Complete and submit the online application.
You receive, within 24 to 48 hours, an e-mail notifying you whether your
application was accepted with additional instructions to set up your
The popular impression-based advertising network TribalFusion operates
globally. The site offers a variety of ad formats to publishers that receive a
minimum of 2,000 unique users per day. Additionally, the blog must be active
and updated frequently and must have a professional design. Tribal Fusion
pays publishers 50 percent of all revenue made from their blogs. The payout
threshold is $50 with payment made by check.
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192 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
You can control the types of ads delivered on your blog by Tribal Fusion by
blocking ad categories or specific advertisers. The site includes Flash ads
and pop-up ads, which might be viewed as intrusive to your visitors. Be sure
to monitor your Tribal Fusion revenue as well as any traffic changes to
ensure that your efforts help you meet your overall goals for your blog.
To apply to become a Tribal Fusion ad publisher, simply complete the online
application on the Tribal Fusion Web site, as shown in Figure 10-6. A repre-
sentative from Tribal Fusion reviews your blog and responds to your applica-
tion within one business week. If your application is accepted, instructions to
establish your account are provided so that you can begin publishing ads on
Affiliate ads help you generate an income based on your blog visitors’
actions, similar to a sales commission business model. Most often, a visitor
clicks an ad placed on your blog through your affiliate ad network member-
ship, and you’re paid when that visitor makes a purchase. Affiliate advertis-
ing comes in a wide variety of formats, allowing you to generate revenue
from a myriad of products and services related to your blog.
In fact, affiliate ads perform best when the products offered by the ads
appearing on your blog are directly related to your blog’s topic. The reason
is simple: People who visit your blog are likely to be interested in products
and services related to your blog’s topic. By visiting your blog, they’ve
already demonstrated their interest in your blog topic, so offering products
that might appeal to them based on that interest is a natural fit.
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193Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
With so many programs to choose from, you must be sure to research each
one, and test several, to find the ones that are the best match for your blog
and your audience. The success of your affiliate advertising efforts comes
directly from your efforts in finding the most suitable program to help you
meet your blogging goals.
Amazon.com is one of the most popular Web sites now online, so it makes
sense that Amazon Associates is one of the most popular affiliate advertising
programs available to bloggers. Amazon.com not only offers an incredibly
wide variety of products to choose from to advertise with your affiliate link
on your blog, but it also makes it extremely easy to set up your Amazon
Associates account. Additionally, you face almost no barriers to entry.
To become an Amazon associate, simply visit the Amazon Associates Web
site and click the Join Now link to fill out the online registration form. Doing
so gives you immediate access to Associates Central, where you can build ad
links and start earning money.
The Amazon Associates program also offers a great deal of flexibility and
customization. You can choose from a wide variety of ad formats, as shown
in Figure 10-7, and you can choose the specific products and links used in
your Amazon Affiliate ads. You can even set up an Amazon store and link
it directly to your blog to increase exponentially your Amazon Associates
offers lots of
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194 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Because Amazon is a well-known brand, your blog visitors are likely to be
comfortable clicking Amazon links and purchasing products from Amazon.
However, the commission earned from Amazon Associates ads is typically
small and varies greatly among bloggers. The bottom line: It takes time,
experimentation, and patience to figure out how best to use Amazon
Associates ads to monetize your blog, but the potential does exist to bring in
eBay Partner Network
The eBay Partner Network is an excellent way to use the popularity of online
auctions to generate revenue from your blog. The concept of the eBay
Partner Network is similar to the Amazon Associates affiliate program in that
you can create banners and links to products on eBay or an eBay storefront.
When visitors to your blog click those links and make a purchase or win an
auction, you earn a percentage of the revenue received by eBay. Additionally,
as in the Amazon Associates program, you need to experiment with the eBay
Partner Network to find the best products and ads that convert clicks from
your blog visitors into sales and thus generate earnings for you.
Each eBay Partner Network program has different payment structures and
ads, so be sure to read about the programs you’re interested in before
applying to make sure that they match your needs and goals.
To join the eBay Partner Network, simply complete the online application by
clicking the Join Now link on the eBay Partner Network home page, as shown
in Figure 10-8.
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195Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
AllPosters is a profitable affiliate program for blogs related to celebrities,
sports, music, art, or other topics where visitors are likely to be interested in
related posters or art. AllPosters sells posters, art, photography, magnets,
apparel, and more with images from celebrities, travel, animals, movies,
musicians, and education. Using the wide variety of ad formats offered by the
AllPosters affiliate program, shown in Figure 10-9, you can include ads for
specific products on your blog or create a storefront.
The AllPosters affiliate program pays a commission of 25 to 30 percent, with
a payout threshold of just $20 paid monthly. You can imagine the potential
income a niche site can generate if it ties nicely to the products offered on
AllPosters. Think Britney Spears or Paris Hilton!
To join the AllPosters affiliate network, simply click the Join Now button on
the Allposters affiliate program Web site and fill out the online application.
Ads at this
site revel in
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196 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
LinkShare, a large affiliate advertising network, works with hundreds of
advertisers to provide ad inventory to publishers such as bloggers. Some of
those advertisers are shown in Figure 10-10. When you become a LinkShare
affiliate, you have access to revenue-generating opportunities from some of
the most well-known brands in the world, such as Wal-Mart, American
Express, LEGO, and others. You select the ads you want to display on your
blog that you expect will meet your revenue criteria. Of course, selecting ads
from advertisers whose products match the wants and needs of your blog
visitors is the key to success.
Not all advertisers in the LinkShare network pay the same amounts, and not
all pay based only on conversions. Take the time to research the various
advertising options and choose the ones that work best for you, your blog,
and your audience. Of course, take the time to experiment with different ads,
advertisers, and other elements to find the best mix for your blog in order to
generate the highest returns.
LinkShare is popular for many reasons:
✓ The program is open to just about anyone with few barriers to entry.
✓ People feel comfortable following links to Web sites (and buying prod-
ucts from) well-known brands and companies.
✓ The payout threshold is only $1 with payments made monthly.
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197Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
To sign up with LinkShare, simply follow the Join link in the upper-right
corner of the LinkShare home page and complete the online registration
form. An e-mail is sent to you with instructions to complete your registration
and begin selecting affiliate advertisements to display on your blog.
Commission Junction is a well-known affiliate advertising program with a
wide variety of advertisers in its CJ Marketingplace network. The site is
owned by ValueClick Media (discussed earlier in this chapter, in the section
“Impression-based ads”). Commission Junction works primarily with large
companies and well-known brands, which typically appeal to consumers and
blog visitors, particularly when the ads align closely with your blog topic.
The minimum payout threshold is just $25 with payments made monthly.
On the negative side, in order to earn money through Commission Junction,
you need to go through a multistep approval process. First, you sign up to
become a Commission Junction publisher by using the online form, shown
in Figure 10-11. After your application is accepted, you apply to each
advertiser’s program that you want to participate in, which can make the
process to monetize your blog through Commission Junction a long one.
Another drawback to Commission Junction is the user account center, which
is more challenging to navigate than the interfaces offered by other affiliate
Fill out the
form and get
to join this
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198 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Merchandising and mini-malls
Selling merchandise from your blog is a helpful way to bring in money. No
matter what topic you blog about, you can likely find a way to link merchan-
dise to it, whether you create a logo and sell T-shirts or imprint a quote on a
magnet or button. If creating your own designs for merchandise doesn’t work
for you, some programs let you simply sell popular products, from iPods to
baby gear and everything in between, from a wide variety of merchants.
CafePress is one of the most popular online merchandising Web sites, where
people can upload custom designs to appear on products such as clothing,
posters, calendars, and mugs. You can then sell those products from your
own CafePress storefront, which can link directly to your blog by using a
Each product is produced on-demand when an order is placed and shipped
directly to the customer. CafePress also manages all exchanges and returns
and offers customer service. You receive a check each month with your
earnings from each sale, which come from the markup you choose to place
on the base price of each item. You can open an unlimited number of basic
shops for free and sell as many as 80 items per shop, or you can open a
premium shop for as little as $4.99 per month and offer an unlimited amount
of merchandise, which also gives you the most customization options. A
premium shop tour is shown in Figure 10-12 to give you an idea of what a
custom storefront provides.
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199Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
To create a CafePress store of your own, simply click the Sell Stuff link from
the top navigation bar on the CafePress home page and then click the Start
Selling Now button in the sidebar on the right to create your account. Follow
the instructions to create your storefront, upload images, and perform
other tasks. Simply link your blog to your store and you’re done. Of course,
promoting your store by blogging about it helps, too!
Make sure you own the copyright for (or get permission to use) any images or
artwork you use on merchandise you sell.
Chitika eMiniMalls offer an interactive product merchandising service where
ads for merchandise are shown based on the content of the page in which
the ad code is placed. In other words, Chitika displays ads based on the
keywords found on your blog page. The ads are unique in that they include a
picture of the product and several tabs offering a product description and
comparative shopping information, as shown in Figure 10-13.
Chitika eMiniMall ads are based on pay-per-click, and you earn 60 percent of
Chitika’s revenue each time someone clicks an ad on your blog. The payment
threshold is just $10 for accounts paid by way of PayPal and $50 for accounts
paid by check. You can easily sign up for the Chitika eMiniMall program by
visiting the Chitika home page, clicking the Publishers link in the top naviga-
tion bar, and then clicking the Apply Now button to fill out the online applica-
tion. A response is e-mailed to you as soon as your application is manually
info at the
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200 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Chitika eMiniMalls work best on sites that are related to tangible products,
receive a significant amount of traffic each month, and use highly targeted
keywords. Chitika offers tools to help users choose keywords and maximize
their earning potential, but it can take time and patience to figure out how to
make Chitika eMiniMalls perform well on your blog. The potential exists to
make a significant revenue stream after Chitika eMiniMalls are optimized on
Many bloggers use feed ads to monetize their blogs’ RSS feeds. With more
and more blog visitors using RSS feed readers to view their favorite blogs,
bloggers have found that they lose money from lost page views. One way
to combat that lost revenue is to add advertisements to your blog’s feed. If
you have an RSS feed set up for your blog, as described in Chapter 10, you
might want to consider monetizing it with one of the following feed advertis-
As discussed in Chapter 9, FeedBurner is one of the most popular tools
that bloggers use to create their blog feeds (called burning a feed). Because
Google owns both Blogger and FeedBurner, you can easily add Google
AdSense ads to your FeedBurner feed. Google AdSense is described in detail
in Chapter 11.
Pheedo offers RSS feed advertising from a wide variety of well-known brands
and companies, including Microsoft, Ford, and ESPN. Ads are placed
between, beside, or within your RSS articles or as stand-alone items. The
position and format choices are up to you. Figure 10-14 shows how several
Pheedo ad formats look online.
Your earnings from Pheedo are contingent on your feed traffic, the frequency
with which you update your blog, your blog topic, and your blog’s popularity.
Advertisers determine how much they’re willing to pay to reach your read-
ers. Popular, highly trafficked, and frequently updated blogs typically gener-
ate significantly higher revenues from Pheedo RSS ads than smaller blogs do.
If you try Pheedo RSS feed advertising, make sure that you take the time to
analyze your results in terms of the revenue generated from those ads as well
as the impact on your overall traffic patterns. Some people find RSS feed ads
to be intrusive. The last thing you want to do is turn away visitors because
they don’t like your RSS feed ads.
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201Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
To join the Pheedo syndicated content advertising network, simply visit the
Pheedo home page and click the Get Started button in the Publishers section
on the right side of the screen. Complete and submit the online application,
and a Pheedo publisher services professional contacts you for follow up.
Rather than rely on ad networks and third parties to provide advertising
content for your blog, you can sell ad space directly. You can sell a variety of
types of ads on your blog by setting up a page on your blog and announcing
that you’re accepting ads and inviting interested advertisers to send an
e-mail for details. Selling ad space can be difficult until your blog grows to a
minimum of at least 1,000 visitors per day, but it’s certainly not impossible,
particularly for niche topic blogs. Your Google page rank and Technorati
authority ranking can also help you (or hurt you) in your direct advertising
Basically, an advertiser doesn’t pay to place an ad on your blog unless the
amount of exposure and number of click-throughs and conversions (such as
leads or sales) bring in a higher return than does the initial advertising
investment. Your goal in selling ads directly is to make your blog attractive
to advertisers by offering appropriate rates based on the return they’re
likely to get.
Distinguishing between types of ads
Bloggers can sell just about any kind of ad they want directly on their blogs.
The only limitation is what you can handle technically when you configure
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202 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
ads to appear on your blog. In other words, don’t offer more than you’re
capable of delivering. If you’re only comfortable copying code or images from
the advertiser into a page element in your blog’s sidebar, offer only that type
of ad on your blog.
The following list describes some of the most common types of ads that
bloggers sell directly:
✓ Sidebar button, skyscraper, or other image-based ad: Your sidebar is
an excellent place for ads. You can place 125x125 pixel button ads,
larger skyscraper ads, or an image ad of any size that fits in your sidebar
to use that area in the best way to meet your goals.
✓ Sidebar text link ads: Your sidebar can contain a multitude of text links.
Of course, too many text links become cluttered and make your blog
unreadable, but adding a small number of text link ads is a great way to
monetize your blog.
✓ Graphical ads between posts: Just as you can insert image-based ads in
your sidebar, you can also insert them between blog posts.
✓ Text link ads between posts: Just as you can insert text link ads in your
sidebar, you can add them between your blog posts.
` ✓ Text link ads within posts: Advertisers might want to purchase a
specific keyword and ask you to use it in an upcoming post.
✓ Banner ads in the header: If your header has room to fit a banner ad,
you can monetize that space and sell advertising there.
Selling and negotiating
After you decide to sell ads on your blog directly, you need to create an
Advertise Here page or section on your blog. Include your contact informa-
tion for details, and then you can negotiate each ad with buyers individually.
After your blog grows big enough and interest in advertising on your blog
increases, you can publish your acceptable ad rates and formats on your
Advertise Here page. By that time, you’ll have a good idea of what types of
ads work on your blog and which rates are appropriate to charge.
Have your site statistics ready (refer to Chapter 9), because advertisers will
ask for them. Be prepared to share your rankings, subscriber numbers,
page views, and number of visitors and unique visitors, and have access to
other stats in case they’re requested. Additionally, advertisers may ask for
demographic information about your readers. You might know some of
that information from communicating with your readers. For more specific
information, you can use a service such as www.Quantcast.com to find
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203Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
out more about your audience or survey your audience using a free survey
service, such as SurveyGizmo (www.surveygizmo.com) or SurveyMonkey
The most important thing about selling ads on your blog directly is to ensure
that you don’t exaggerate your blog’s traffic or reach. Be honest in what you
believe you can deliver for advertisers and charge your rates accordingly.
Sponsored reviews help you get paid for writing and publishing posts.
Advertisers search for bloggers to write posts and reviews, for example,
about their brands, products, and Web sites to create an online buzz,
increase Web site traffic, and boost sales. A number of companies run
sponsored review networks, and the three most popular are discussed in
Each sponsored review network operates similarly in that you submit your
blog for inclusion in the network’s marketplace. If your blog is approved,
you can either search for sponsored review opportunities that your blog
qualifies for, or advertisers can search for your blog based on the criteria
they establish for each opportunity. When you accept a sponsored review
opportunity, you’re given the requirements of the opportunity and a time-
frame within which the sponsored post must be published. The payment
amount is agreed on upfront and is typically based on the specific opportu-
nity as well as on the Google, Technorati, and Alexa rankings of your blog.
Be sure to read the specific rules for each sponsored review network you
consider joining. Each network has individual nuances that make it unique.
Sponsored reviews are a useful way for smaller bloggers to make some extra
money, but they can also hurt your blog in the long run. Unfortunately,
Google and other search engines don’t like paid links, and the links in a
sponsored review are exactly that. If the sponsored review network you join
doesn’t use the NoFollow HTML tag, discussed earlier in this chapter, and
doesn’t allow you to fully disclose sponsored reviews on your blog, Google is
likely to downgrade your page rank or remove your blog from its searches
entirely, which can lead to a significant decline in search-related traffic to
your blog. With that in mind, you should consider avoiding sponsored review
programs that don’t use the NoFollow HTML tag, don’t allow you to disclose
your posts as paid for by sponsors and don’t allow you to write honest
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204 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
PayPerPost is the pioneer of sponsored reviews. Bloggers who join the
PayPerPost marketplace submit an application by clicking the Sign Up Now
button on the PayPerPost home page, shown in Figure 10-15. After your
application is accepted, you can set up your blog’s profile, select your blog’s
category, and begin looking for opportunities.
PayPerPost bloggers have six hours to complete an assignment after accept-
ing an opportunity and are paid 30 days after the sponsored review post
is published. Opportunities begin at $5 and can increase to thousands of
dollars, but those high-paying opportunities are typically available only to
blogs with very high amounts of traffic.
At ReviewMe, another popular sponsored-review network, bloggers can click
the Signup Now button on the home page, as shown in Figure 10-16. When
your application is approved, you can set up your blog information for
advertisers to find you. Rather than search for opportunities as you do on
PayPerPost, advertisers search for bloggers with ReviewMe.
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205Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
When an advertiser sends an opportunity to you, you can approve or reject
it. Completed reviews typically pay between $20 and $200, but higher-paying
reviews are usually reserved for highly trafficked blogs.
SponsoredReviews works a bit like both PayPerPost and ReviewMe, in
that bloggers can search for opportunities and bid on jobs, which allows
for rate negotiation directly with the advertisers, and they can create a
blog profile and let advertisers bring offers to them, which they can accept
If you accept an opportunity through SponsoredReviews, you’re given three
days to complete the assignment. Your post is reviewed to ensure that it
meets specified guidelines, and you’re paid by way of PayPal every two
weeks. SponsoredReviews opportunities are available from $10 to $1,000,
but the higher-paying reviews are usually available only to extremely
You can sign up for SponsoredReviews by clicking the Free Sign Up button on
its home page, shown in Figure 10-17.
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206 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Other monetization options
Advertising and merchandise sales are common, but you’re not limited to
those moneymaking options on your blog. Don’t be afraid to be creative and
think “out of the box.” What would your blog readers enjoy? Find ways to
provide the content, links, and information your readers want, and then
create ways to monetize them.
You can even extend your monetization opportunities outside your blog. For
example, as your blog grows in popularity and your online presence becomes
stronger, you can seek out opportunities to write paid articles for online
publications and magazines, for example, or pursue paid speaking engage-
ments as an expert in your blog’s topic. The opportunities are available with
creative thinking, effort, and commitment. Check out the monetization
options in the following sections for some ideas to get you started.
As your blog and your audience grow, you can ask visitors to donate money
to help keep the blog going. You can use that money toward hosting costs,
contest prizes, design costs, and other costs. To make the process of asking
for donations simple, you can add a PayPal (www.PayPal.com) donation
button to your blog, which automates the process by electronically transfer-
ring the money from the donor’s account to yours. An example of a PayPal
donation button is shown in Figure 10-18.
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207Chapter 10: The Business of Blogging
Setting up a PayPal account takes only a few minutes and can be quite helpful
as your blog grows to accept advertising payments, pay hosting fees, and
much more. After your PayPal account is up and running, you can simply
use the tools provided on the PayPal Web site to create your Donation
button and upload it to your blog by adding a new gadget to your sidebar, as
described in Chapter 8.
Guest blogging is a simple process of writing a post to be published on
another blogger’s blog. Guest blogging works well as a promotional tool,
particularly when you write a guest post that appears on a blog that’s more
popular than your own. To get started as a guest blogger, contact other
bloggers whom you admire or whose audience is similar to your own and
pitch a guest post idea. If the other blogger accepts your guest post, you can
simply write it (always include a link to your own blog in your guest posts)
and provide it to the other blogger for publishing. The goal of guest blogging
for free is to get your name out there across the blogosphere and build an
online reputation as well as generate traffic to your blog.
After your blog is established and you’re well known online, you can begin
offering your guest blogging services for a fee. Some of the most popular
bloggers charge several hundred dollars to write a guest post. You have to
start with lower fees, of course, but the potential exists to make some extra
money from paid guest blogging. Advertise your service on your blog, social
networks, and other outlets to spread the word and generate interest. To
make the process easy, you can use your PayPal account to accept payment.
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208 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
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In This Chapter
▶ Making sense of AdSense
▶ Registering with AdSense
▶ Setting up AdSense on your blog
▶ Configuring AdSense for feeds
▶ Getting paid
▶ Tracking your success
Google AdSense is the most popular moneymaking method available to
bloggers. With its ease of integration into your Blogger blog, AdSense
is usually one of the first moneymaking methods that bloggers try. Although
you aren’t likely to get rich by using AdSense (at least not right away), it’s a
widely accepted and fairly unobtrusive option.
In fact, your success with AdSense depends on a number of factors discussed
in this chapter. However, you have no way of knowing how AdSense ads will
perform on your blog until you register for an account and start displaying
ads. This chapter teaches you how to create an AdSense account, insert
Google AdSense ads into your blog, and track your success with AdSense.
Making Sense of AdSense
Google AdSense is a contextual link advertising program. Advertisers bid on
keywords related to their products, brands, Web sites, and other elements
by using the Google AdWords program. You can get more information about
the Google AdWords program by reading Google AdWords For Dummies, by
Howie Jacobson (Wiley).
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210 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Bloggers and Web site owners sign up as publishers on the Google AdSense
program and allow Google to serve ads related to the content of their blog
or Web site pages. Relevant ads are chosen using a set of secret rules cre-
ated by Google which is based on keywords found on blog or Web site pages
where ads are to be served. When a person clicks on an AdSense ad, the pub-
lisher (the blogger or Web site publisher), receives a portion of the revenue
earned from those ads. The rates that publishers are paid vary significantly
depending on the popularity of the keywords that advertisers bid on for the
ads served on their blogs or Web sites.
To maintain the integrity of your blog, you should review the ads served on
your blog and filter out any specific advertisers whose ads you don’t want to
display. Although all ads undergo the Google editorial review process, you
shouldn’t rely on it to block ads that don’t match your readers’ expectations
for your blog. Instead, review the ads your visitors are seeing and ensure that
they’re appropriate for your blog and your audience. You can set ad filters
and restrictions to block inappropriate ads from the Google AdSense dash-
board, discussed in more detail later in this chapter.
Exploring the available ads
Google AdSense ads come in two popular formats for bloggers:
✓ AdSense for content: Ads are displayed based on the content of your
page. Ads can be in text or graphical format and link to a separate page
determined by the advertiser. You’re paid when a visitor clicks on
✓ AdSense for search: A search box is displayed on your blog where visi-
tors can enter search terms to find more information. You’re paid when
the visitor clicks a link that’s returned in the search results, making it a
two-step process before you generate earnings.
You can customize the appearance of the AdSense ads displayed on your
blog, including the colors of the border, title, background, text, and URL. You
can also choose from a wide variety of ad formats, including text ads, image
ads, video ads, link units, and themed units. These features are discussed
later in this chapter, in the section “Setting Up AdSense on Your Blog.”
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211Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
Finding your way around Google AdSense
Google AdSense does all the work for you to help you earn money from your
blog. You simply need to create an account and configure your blog settings
in order to start making money. The success of your Google AdSense ads
comes from your efforts to maximize return. The following list describes sev-
eral ways you can help boost your AdSense earning potential:
✓ Write focused content. Google AdSense ads are served based on the
content found on the page of your blog where those ads appear. Make
sure that your content is focused on a single topic to ensure that related
ads are displayed.
✓ Do your keyword research. To maximize your AdSense income, take
some time to research keyword popularity. Open your own Google
AdWords account and analyze the going rates for keywords related
to your blog’s niche. Use tools such as the ones available at www.
wordtracker.com to further research keyword popularity. The more
popular a keyword is, the higher advertisers have to bid to serve ads
related to it. Try to write content that is relevant to your blog’s topic
and that maximizes popular keywords.
✓ Increase traffic to your blog. With more visitors comes the potential for
more clicks on your AdSense ads, and that means increased earnings for
you. Chapters 12 and 13 discuss how you can grow your blog’s audience
✓ Test, test, and test again. Much of your AdSense success comes from
experimentation and finding out what works best. Test ad types, ad
placement, and keywords to determine how to maximize your AdSense
✓ Avoid covering your blog in Google AdSense ads. Too many ads
make your blog cluttered. Rather than click your ads and help you earn
money, visitors click away from your blog entirely if they can’t find
useful content amid the many ads. The quality (the relevancy) of the ads
you display on your blog is more useful than the quantity.
Understanding Google AdSense policies
Before you start your AdSense account, read the Google AdSense program
policies. Publishers have to adhere to a variety of restrictions and require-
ments in order to participate in the AdSense program. If you’re caught violat-
ing the AdSense policies, your account is disabled, and you’re removed from
the program. The AdSense policies in the following list give you an idea of
what you are not allowed to do as an AdSense publisher:
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212 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
✓ Click ads that appear on your own blog. Avoid click fraud of any kind.
Don’t click your own ads or allow any kind of automated robot to click
✓ Display too many AdSense ads. Google has specific restrictions related
to how many AdSense ads can appear on a page in your blog at any time.
Check the most recent version of the program policies to ensure that
you’re adhering to the rules.
✓ Ask people to click your AdSense ads. Again, avoid click fraud of any
kind. Even a small suggestion to someone about clicking the AdSense
ads that appear on your blog can be deemed click fraud.
✓ Publish pages that include AdSense ads but no other useful or original
content. Google considers pages that include AdSense ads but no other
original, useful content to be spam. Sites that simply copy content from
other sites or publish nothing but ads on their pages are removed from
the AdSense program if they’re caught.
✓ Publish ads that look like AdSense ads but aren’t AdSense ads. Check
the AdSense program policies to confirm the most current restrictions
related to the other types of ads you’re allowed to display on your blog
along with AdSense ads. Don’t publish any other ads that can be con-
fused with AdSense ads.
✓ Publish unacceptable content. The AdSense program policies list a
myriad of site content restrictions, including pornography, gambling,
and excessive profanity. Be sure to read the restrictions before you sign
up for an AdSense account.
✓ Reveal your earnings per click. Although you can give a general idea
on your blog of how much money you make from AdSense (for example,
$1,000 per month), it’s a violation of AdSense policies to reveal how
much you’re paid per click for specific ads.
Three pages of restrictions are listed in the Google AdSense program policies.
Be sure to read them and adhere to them, or else you stand a strong chance of
having your AdSense account deactivated. Getting back into the AdSense pro-
gram after your account has been deactivated is no small feat.
Many blogs and Web sites are dedicated to unraveling the mysteries of
AdSense success. If you’re serious about maximizing your earning potential
with Google AdSense, read Google AdSense For Dummies, by Jerri Ledford
(Wiley) for extensive instructions and tips. Help is also available on these
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213Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
✓ Google AdSense blog: www.Adsense.blogspot.com
✓ Google AdSense Help Center: www.Google.com/AdSense/Support
✓ Google AdSense Help Group: www.groups.google.com/group/
Registering with AdSense
Before you can include AdSense ads on your blog, you have to sign up to
become an AdSense publisher and Google has to approve your blog for
the program. Google AdSense is free to publishers, and ads are available in
numerous languages to match appropriate ads with publishers from around
To sign up for Google AdSense, follow these steps:
1. Visit the AdSense home page at www.google.com/adsense and click
the Sign Up Now button.
The button is on the right side of the page, as shown in Figure 11-1. This
step opens the online application.
2. Enter the requested information in the appropriate fields of the online
Be sure to complete all fields shown in Figures 11-2 and 11-3 to ensure
that your application is approved in a timely manner.
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214 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
half of the
Your payments are sent to the address included in your application
unless you change your payment method after your account is set up as
described later in this chapter. Be certain to enter the correct address.
3. Click the Submit Information button when your application is
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215Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
Google reviews your application and notifies you by e-mail when your
application is accepted or rejected.
Be certain to read the AdSense program policies in the Policies section
of the online application to ensure that you understand what you can
and cannot do as a Google AdSense publisher.
4. After your application is approved, log in to your AdSense account
and familiarize yourself with the AdSense dashboard.
Using the navigation bar at the top of the page after you log in, notice
the area to view and create reports, set up your ads, review and change
your account settings, and find additional resources and help.
5. Select the AdSense Setup tab from the top navigation bar to configure
your ad settings.
You can use the tabs in the top navigation bar of the AdSense Setup
page (shown in Figure 11-4) to set up your ads, color palette, filters, and
allowed sites, or you can make these configurations from the Blogger
dashboard, as discussed in detail later in this chapter.
ads from the
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216 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Setting Up AdSense on Your Blog
As a Blogger user, you benefit from the fact that Google owns both AdSense
and Blogger. Rather than set up your ads by using the Google AdSense dash-
board, you can set them up directly in Blogger, making it that much easier to
monetize your blog with AdSense after you have an approved and activated
Google AdSense account.
Before you start placing AdSense ads on your blog, take some time to under-
stand which ad formats are available to you and how you can best integrate
those ads into your blog to maximize revenue without sacrificing traffic. Also,
keep in mind that you can customize the color palette of the ad units you
choose to display on your blog to either blend the ads into your blog’s design
or contrast them against that design. These options are discussed later in
Too many ads on a page make your blog cluttered and drive away traffic.
Visitors are looking for compelling content, not ads. The ads you include on
your blog should complement the page and help visitors, not distract and con-
Choosing an ad format
Google AdSense ads come in five primary formats: text ads, image ads, video
ads, link units, and themed units. Each one is explained in more detail in the
Text ads typically include a link, a short marketing message, and a URL. You
can choose the size and number of ads displayed on your blog based on the
text ad format you choose. Figure 11-5 shows how several text link ad-format
options look. You can choose from 12 different text ad formats to find the
best options for your blog.
If you add Google AdSense ads to your blog directly by using Blogger, fewer
ad format choices are available to you. To place ads in additional formats, you
need to place them by using your Google AdSense dashboard, where you can
select ads, copy the necessary code, and place the code in a new gadget on
Image ads include a graphical image and a URL. They’re available in eight
sizes, and you can select the size that works best on your blog. You can see
four size option examples in Figure 11-6.
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217Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
Video ads come in seven sizes and include an animated Play button that plays
a short video advertisement when clicked. A URL is also displayed in a video
ad. When a visitor plays the video, the URL displays as an active link button
at the end of the ad. You can see four size option examples in Figure 11-7.
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218 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
come in four
Link units are basically lists of topic links. Each link leads a visitor to a list of
links related to that topic from advertisers. If one of those links is clicked, the
advertiser’s Web page opens and you earn money. With that in mind, remem-
ber that it’s a two-step process to earn money from link units. However, link
units are the least intrusive ad format simply because they include the least
amount of extraneous text and no graphical images. That means they can
blend easily into any blog. Figure 11-8 shows examples of link unit ad formats.
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219Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
Themed units change depending on the time of year. Themed units have the
potential to perform well on blogs directly related to a seasonal holiday or an
event matching the ads served. Figure 11-9 shows examples of themed units.
Choosing the appropriate ad size
Ad sizes are always communicated in pixels as width by height. AdSense ad
sizes can vary from small, 120 x 90 link units to large, 728 x 90 leader boards.
The following list describes different ad sizes and where they might work well
on your blog:
✓ Leader board: Typically wide and short. Google AdSense leader board
ads are 728 x 90 and fit well in a blog’s header or footer.
✓ Skyscraper: Typically narrow and long. Google AdSense skyscraper ads
are 120 x 600, and wide skyscraper ads are 160 x 600. Skyscraper ads fit
well in sidebars.
✓ Banner and half banner: Come in a variety of sizes and are typically
wide and short, but can also be produced as vertical banners, where the
ads are long and narrow. Banner ads work well in a variety of places,
including the header, footer, sidebar, and between posts, depending on
the selected size.
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220 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
✓ Button: Increasingly the most popular blog sidebar advertising format is
the button ad. You commonly see button ads, which measure 125 x 125,
placed side by side and in groups of two, four, six, or eight in a blog’s
✓ Square and rectangle: Come in a variety of sizes and typically work well
in sidebars and in between blog posts.
Choosing the appropriate ad size for your blog is basically a process of bal-
ancing the intrusiveness of the ad with your monetization goals. Naturally,
larger ads are more noticeable, but if those ads are bothersome to your visi-
tors, your traffic can decrease as a result. Don’t be afraid to experiment and
find the right ad format and size choices for your blog.
Placing AdSense ads on your blog
Your blog’s sidebar is a perfect place to ad Google AdSense ads. By simply
adding a Google AdSense gadget to your blog layout, ads automatically
appear on your blog, assuming that you already set up your Google AdSense
account. Follow these steps to ad a Google AdSense unit to your blog:
1. Select the Layout tab from your Blogger dashboard.
The Page Elements page opens, shown in Figure 11-10.
link to add
ads to your
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221Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
2. From the Page Elements page, click the Add a Gadget link on the right
side of the page to add a new gadget to your blog’s sidebar.
The Add a Gadget window opens.
3. Scroll down within the Add a Gadget window until you see the AdSense
element and then click the AdSense link, as shown in Figure 11-11.
This step opens the Configure AdSense window.
is listed in
the Add a
4. Using the Format drop-down menu in the Configure AdSense window,
shown in Figure 11-12, choose the ad size you want to display on your
Click the radio button next to Text and Image if you want to show both
ad formats or the radio button next to Text Only to display only text ads.
5. Using the Colors drop-down menu, choose a color scheme or select
individual colors to format your AdSense ads.
You can view your changes in the Preview area before you accept them.
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222 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
6. Under the Advanced heading, ensure that the correct AdSense pub-
lisher ID is shown.
This ID is for the account that’s paid when visitors click the ads on your
This step is particularly important if you have more than one AdSense
7. Click the Save button.
This step reopens the Page Elements window.
8. Click the View Blog link after the Page Element Added message
beneath the top navigation bars, shown in Figure 11-13, to see your
AdSense ads begin displaying on your blog automatically, as shown in
You can add multiple Google AdSense gadgets to your blog’s sidebars, footer,
and other elements. Be sure to check the current Google AdSense policies to
ensure that you don’t add more units than allowed.
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223Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
The View Blog link
ads fit well
in a blog’s
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224 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Adding AdSense ads between blog posts
Ads placed between blog posts typically perform well; however, they can be
intrusive. Use your own judgment related to your moneymaking goals and
your visitors’ preferences to help you decide whether to include AdSense ads
between your blog posts. If you decide to include them, follow these steps to
1. From the Blogger dashboard, click the Layout link.
This step opens the Page Elements page, shown in Figure 11-15.
2. Click the Edit link in the lower right corner of the Blog Posts
The Edit link
The Edit link
The Configure Blog Posts window opens, as shown in Figure 11-16.
3. Select the Show Ads Between Posts check box.
When this check box is selected, the window expands to display the
Configure Inline Ads section, shown in Figure 11-17.
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225Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
4. In the Configure Inline Ads Section, choose the color scheme you want
to use for your ads by either using the Colors drop-down box or select-
ing individual colors from the palette.
Preview your changes in the Preview section.
5. Click the Save button when you’re done.
This step reopens the Page Elements page, where you can click the View
Blog link to see your changes live on your blog, as shown in Figure 11-18.
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226 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
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227Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
Configuring AdSense for Feeds
Adding Google AdSense ads to your blog’s feed takes several steps, but luck-
ily, they are not difficult. As discussed in Chapter 9, feeds are a popular way
for people to read content from multiple blogs in a single location called a
feed reader. Rather than visit each blog to see whether any new content has
been published, people can subscribe to a blog’s feed. All the feeds a person
is subscribed to are collected together and delivered by using a single feed
reader, such as Google Reader.
With the growing popularity of viewing blogs by way of a feed reader rather
than visiting numerous blogs, bloggers were faced with decreasing page
views and a loss in revenue from advertising. For example, if your blog has
no visitors, it also has no one to click your AdSense ads. Because Google
owns Blogger, AdSense, and FeedBurner (the most popular tool to create, or
“burn”, your blog’s feed, as described in Chapter 9), it isn’t surprising that
it has become quite easy to add Google AdSense ads to your Blogger blog’s
feed through FeedBurner.
Follow these steps to configure AdSense ads to appear in your blog’s RSS
feed by using FeedBurner.
1. Visit the FeedBurner home page at www.feedburner.com, shown in
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228 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
2. In the long text box in the middle of the page, enter your blog’s
domain name and click the Next button.
This step opens the Identify Feed Source window, shown in Figure 11-20.
3. Click the radio button next to the RSS feed and click the Next button.
This step opens the feed verification window, shown in Figure 11-21.
4. Click the Sign In link if you already have a FeedBurner account, or
enter the necessary information in the appropriate fields to start a
new FeedBurner account. Then click the Next button.
The Congratulations window opens and displays your FeedBurner feed
URL, as shown in Figure 11-22.
5. Copy the new FeedBurner feed URL for your blog. In a different
browser window, open your Blogger account and click the Settings
link from your Blogger dashboard.
The Basic Settings page opens.
6. Click the Site Feed link from the navigation bar to open the Site Feed
page, and paste the FeedBurner feed URL that you just copied for your
blog into the Post Feed Redirect URL text box, shown in Figure 11-23.
This step redirects your RSS feed to your FeedBurner account.
7. Click the Save button. Next, return to the browser window where
you have FeedBurner open and you just copied your feed URL. Click
the link at the bottom of the page that says Skip Directly to Feed
This step opens a page where you can begin configuring settings for
your feed, as shown in Figure 11-24.
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229Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
ing in to
ing a new
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230 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
8. Select the Monetize tab from the navigation bar.
The Configure Ads page opens, as shown in Figure 11-25.
9. Click the Sign In to AdSense link to sign in to your AdSense account.
Enter the username and password for your AdSense account.
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231Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
Ads page in
10. Return to the Configure Ads page and click the Activate button.
When you return to the Configure Ads page after signing in to your
AdSense account, the page expands to include options for you to custom-
ize the appearance of AdSense ads in your blog as shown in Figure 11-26.
Ads page in
11. Click the Display Ads from AdSense for Content radio button and then
click the Activate button.
Near the bottom of the page, a new section of the Configure Ads page
opens, titled Get the HTML Code to Put Ads on Your Site, as shown in
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232 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
ads in your
12. Choose Blogger from the drop-down menu.
A new window opens with instructions for adding FeedFlare to Your
Blogger blog. FeedFlare works behind the scenes to display AdSense ads
on your blog’s FeedBurner feed.
13. Follow the instructions and copy the supplied code into your blog’s
template as directed.
After the code is properly added to your blog’s template, AdSense ads
appear in your blog’s feed by way of FeedBurner. An example is shown
in Figure 11-28.
as text ads,
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233Chapter 11: Maximizing Revenue with Google AdSense
The payment process for Google AdSense publishers is simple: You’re paid
whenever someone clicks one of the AdSense ads that appear on your blog.
Your earnings depend on several factors, including how much traffic your
blog receives, how relevant the ads are to your blog visitors, and how much
the advertiser had to bid to serve the ad based on specific keywords trig-
gered by your blog content. Much of your earning potential through Google
AdSense comes from trial and error and determining which combination of
ads performs best on your blog without hurting your traffic levels.
AdSense publishers must reach a threshold of $100 in order to get paid.
Earnings roll over from one month to the next until you earn a minimum
total of $100. After you reach that threshold, you’re paid by check or elec-
tronic transfer to your bank account, depending on your settings in the My
Account section of the AdSense dashboard. Payment is typically made within
approximately 30 days of the end of the month in which you reach the $100
payout threshold. In other words, if you reach the $100 threshold in June,
you should receive payment by the end of July. You can access your payment
history from the Google AdSense dashboard.
You cannot change your payment method or enter required tax details into
your account until you reach $10 in earnings. At that point, a personal identi-
fication number (PIN) is mailed by snail mail to the payment address listed in
your account. (Make sure that it’s accurate.) You must enter the PIN into your
account before any payments are sent to you. The PIN can take two to three
weeks to arrive. You may also be required to verify your telephone number.
If so, you’re called at a predetermined time and asked to enter a verification
number that’s provided within your AdSense account. Google notifies you if
this step is required.
Tracking Your Success
An important component of your AdSense success is tracking your results.
Don’t limit your analysis to earnings. Be certain to compare earnings by ad
unit, ad format, and ad placement to find which ones are bringing in the most
revenue. Also, analyze the performance of your AdSense ads against your
blog’s traffic statistics, as described in Chapter 9, to ensure that your ads
aren’t negatively affecting your traffic levels. You can track the performance
of your AdSense ads by selecting the Reports tab within the Google AdSense
dashboard, which leads you to the Overview page, shown in Figure 11-29. By
selecting the Advanced Reports tab from the navigation bar, you can create a
wide variety of customized reports, as shown in Figure 11-30.
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234 Part III: Making Money with Blogger
Much of your success with Google AdSense or any advertising program
comes from the amount of traffic your blog receives. Chapters 12 and 13 pro-
vide a variety of ideas and information about growing your blog and attract-
ing visitors to it by way of networking and relationship building, promotion,
and search engine optimization.
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In this part . . .
If you want your blog to grow and attract more visitors
(leading to more moneymaking opportunities), make
sure that you read Part IV. Chapter 12 shows you how to
use the tools available to you on the social Web to build
an audience, including social networking and social
You can also grow your blog by using organic search.
Every time a person enters keywords into a search engine,
it can translate into traffic to your blog. Chapter 13 shows
you the basic search engine optimization concepts to help
you grow your blog from search engine traffic.
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In This Chapter
▶ Making your blog entries show up in search engines
▶ Finding your way around the social Web
▶ Discovering social networking
▶ Getting the hang of social bookmarking
▶ Using microblogging
Much of your success as a blogger comes as a result of hard work and
patience, but you can help move things along more quickly by using
the tools available to you to promote your blog. A world of people search
online every day, and helping them find your blog is the best route to build-
ing your blog’s traffic. How do you reach all those people?
This chapter starts you on the path to raising awareness of your blog and
driving traffic to it. You also find out how to become an active member of
the social Web both on and off your blog and to develop relationships that
are the key to your ultimate blogging success. Remember that your blog
becomes whatever you want it to be, so your job is to invest the time and
effort required to take it there.
Submitting Your Blog to Search Engines
Although many search engines find your blog eventually, you should make
sure that eventually happens sooner rather than later by submitting your
blog to popular search engines. Doing so ensures that your blog is on each
search engine’s radar screen and that your blog posts begin appearing in
user searches. If you optimize your posts for search, as discussed in detail
in Chapter 13, and acquire more and more incoming links, your rankings in
search engine keyword queries should rise.
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238 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
The higher your content appears in search engine rankings, the greater the
possibility that someone clicks your link and finds your blog. If you write
outstanding content and post consistently and frequently, your traffic should
increase over time. The following sections describe how to submit your blog
to some of the most popular search engines.
Don’t waste time submitting every page of your blog. Just submit your blog’s
main page to each search engine, and they find the rest automatically.
To submit your blog to Google, simply go to the online submission form,
shown in Figure 12-1, and enter your blog’s main URL. It’s usually your blog’s
home page, and you should include the http:// part of your blog’s URL (for
example, http://www.myblogdomain.com). You can enter any additional
information or keywords that you want to provide, but they don’t affect your
submission or appear with it after your page is indexed. Then type, in the
text box, the spam-blocker text that appears on your screen and click the
Add URL button. It’s that easy!
your blog to
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239Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
You can submit your blog to Yahoo by visiting the online submission form.
Enter your blog’s URL in the first text box and click the Submit URL button,
shown in Figure 12-2. You can also enter your blog’s feed URL in the second
text box. Instructions for creating your blog’s feed by using FeedBurner are in
your blog to
MSN Live Search
Visit the MSN Live Search submission page, shown in Figure 12-3. Simply
type into the appropriate box the spam-blocker text that’s displayed, and
enter your blog’s URL in the text box. Click the Submit URL button and you’re
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240 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
your blog to
Submitting your blog to Technorati, a blog search engine, is a multistep pro-
cess. First, complete the online form to become a Technorati member, as
shown in Figure 12-4, and select the I Have a Blog and Would Like to Claim It
Now check box. You can then enter your blog’s URL to claim it as yours. Note
that Technorati membership is free.
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241Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
Submitting your blog to search engines isn’t critical, but it can speed up the
process of having your blog included in search engine results. To find out
whether your blog is already included in search engine results, visit each
search engine and type your blog’s URL in the Search box. If your blog is
included in the returned results, it has already been indexed by that search
Navigating the Social Web
With the start of the 21st century came a new generation of the Internet: Web
2.0, or the social Web. At this time, Web content moved away from being
one-sided, where Web sites typically provided information and transaction
processing but little more. Web 2.0 ushered in a new type of Internet: Rather
than have content pushed to users, they jumped on-board and began creat-
ing content of their own. The Internet went from being a passive medium to
an active one and user participation began to control the online world.
More and more people now join the social Web by starting blogs, participat-
ing in online forums and chat groups, listening to online radio, watching and
sharing videos, joining social networking sites, and participating in social
bookmarking activities. The opportunities to join the conversation and share
information are seemingly endless, and people and businesses are still just in
the beginning stages of discovering how best to use the social Web.
Web 2.0 is still in its infancy, despite long strides having been made in a rela-
tively short length of time. Throughout the brief evolution of the social Web,
however, blogging has become an icon of what it’s all about — sharing and
actively discussing and participating.
Blogs become most successful when the bloggers behind them understand
and maximize the opportunities that the social Web provides. It isn’t a place
to simply post information and walk away. Rather, it’s a place to publish
information and then encourage other people to comment, react, share, and
discuss. The tools of the social Web can help bloggers promote their blogs
and gain awareness and recognition for them, but it’s the bloggers’ efforts at
building a community around the blog that can make or break their blogs’
Building a blog community
Most successful bloggers give the same answer when asked to identify the
most important thing that helped them become successful — their communi-
ties of readers. The people who visit your blog enjoy what you have to say
and return to read more. They can become your most loyal readers if you
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242 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
engage them and make them feel welcome and valued. These people get to
know each other and develop online relationships with each other over time,
and all have a few things in common: They share an interest in your blog’s
topic, they like what you have to say, and they feel comfortable visiting and
discussing the topic at hand. That comfort level comes from the atmosphere
you create on your blog.
Here are some ideas for how you can create a sense of community on your
✓ Encourage visitors to leave comments. Ask questions in your blog posts,
and encourage readers to leave comments with their opinions.
✓ Conduct a poll or host a contest to move lurkers to action.
✓ Request guest posts or content submission suggestions from your
✓ Start an ongoing question-and-answer post series where you ask readers
to submit questions and then you publish posts with the answers.
✓ When readers leave comments on your blog, take the time to respond
to them. Leave comments in return to show readers that you value their
contributions and to show other readers that each comment and reader
is important to you.
Over time, your loyal readers will even step up to the plate and begin
responding to comments before you have a chance to do so! Your job as
the blogger is to spark the conversations on your blog, encourage them to
continue and flourish, and reign in side conversations or inappropriate
Publish a blog comment policy to protect your readers and your blog’s reputa-
tion from the inevitable inappropriate comments that someone will leave on
your blog someday.
Commenting on other blogs
Just as you want people to leave comments on your blog and start a conver-
sation, other bloggers want the same thing on their blogs. An important part
of being a member of the social Web is actively participating in it by ventur-
ing outside your blog and forming relationships with other bloggers. An easy
way to start is to visit other blogs, particularly other blogs within your topic
niche, and leave comments on posts you enjoy.
Leaving comments on other blogs not only makes those blog authors aware
of who you are but also — when you include your URL with your comment —
makes it more likely that the blog’s author or readers will click your URL to
find out more about you and read more of what you have to say. This state-
ment is especially true if you leave relevant, thought-provoking comments.
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243Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
Don’t leave useless comments on other blogs, such as “Nice post.” Instead,
take the time to truly add to the conversation.
Although the Blogger software doesn’t accept or send traditional trackbacks,
you can use the backlinks function within Blogger to see who else links to
your blog posts. Alternatively, you can link to other blog posts within your
own posts, and those links are seen in the other bloggers’ traffic statistics
reports as referrals. Here are a couple of tips for using backlinks:
✓ When you link to another blog post, always click that link in your live
post to ensure that it’s working.
✓ Make sure that the backlinks function is set to allow backlinks on your
blog posts. When Google Blog Search identifies blogs that link to yours,
a backlink is published beneath the comments section in your blog
posts. The backlink includes a snippet from the post that linked to yours
and a live link to that post.
Bloggers like trackbacks and backlinks because those elements give them
an opportunity to leave a link to their own blogs on another blog, which can
drive traffic. Trackbacks and backlinks also notify other bloggers that you’re
interested in their content and you’re sharing it, which gives them more
exposure and more opportunities for increased traffic and incoming links.
When you find a blog post idea in another blogger’s post, always link to the
original source in your own post, to give that blogger credit for writing about
it first. Doing so not only keeps you in line with the unwritten rules of the
blogosphere but can also help you build a relationship with another blogger
and drive traffic to your blog over time as your name and blog become more
Introducing Social Networking
Social networking is just like traditional face-to-face networking, but rather
than meet and talk to people in person, you do it by using the social Web. A
variety of Web sites allow people to register for memberships, interact with
other members, share content, and develop relationships. Some of those
Web sites are discussed later in this chapter, but you also have ways to net-
work online without using a specific membership Web site. In other words,
don’t think that social networking occurs on specific sites created solely for
that purpose. Use any opportunity to network online to promote your blog
just as you would if you were networking and promoting a business or your-
self for a new career in face-to-face situations.
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244 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
Promoting your blog by
using social networking
As discussed earlier in this chapter, responding to comments left on your
blog, leaving comments on other blogs, and linking to other blogs in your
own posts are a few simple ways to meet other bloggers and develop rela-
tionships with them as well as potential new readers to your blog. All these
activities can be considered forms of social networking.
Additionally, you can join one of the many online forums available on just
about any topic you can think of and become an active participant. This strat-
egy works best when the forums you’re involved with are directly related
to your blog’s topic. You can also include a link to your blog in your e-mail
signature, which gives every person who receives an e-mail from you the
opportunity to discover your blog and possibly become a new networking
connection related to your blog’s topic.
Checking out popular
social networking sites
Social networking can take a variety of forms and purposes, and a wide vari-
ety of social networking Web sites are available. Names such as MySpace,
Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendster, and Orkut are just a few of the big players in
the online social networking realm. Where should you start to build a profile,
connect with people, and promote your blog? To get you going, the following
sections provide an overview of three of the most popular social networking
In terms of organized social networking, MySpace can be considered a viable
option. If the truth is told, however, MySpace is more than a social network-
ing tool because it provides far more options than social networking func-
tionality, such as the ability to create individual blogs. It also allows anyone
to create a MySpace page for any purpose. That means MySpace may not be
useful for all blog topics.
MySpace has a reputation of being the place to be for teenagers and bands
looking to make a break into show business. Although it’s possible for anyone
to set up a MySpace profile and build an online presence from it, some blog-
gers (think of a business blog or a highly technical blog) don’t want their
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245Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
profile to be mixed with their 12-year-old daughter’s page dedicated to the
teen idol of the moment. It’s up to you to determine whether MySpace is the
right place for you to spend your time networking and building relationships.
Invest your time in networking at sites visited by people who might be inter-
ested in your blog topic. Look for like-minded people and begin developing
relationships with them by sharing content, ideas, and links they might be
To join MySpace, follow these steps:
1. Visit the MySpace home page.
2. Click the Sign Up link on the right side of the top navigation bar,
shown in Figure 12-5.
3. Complete and submit the online application.
4. Set up your profile.
The key to successfully using your MySpace page to drive traffic to your blog
is to make friends with other MySpace users and get to know them by leaving
comments on their profiles and starting conversations. You can learn all the
details about using MySpace in MySpace For Dummies, 2nd Edition, by Ryan
Hupfer, Mitch Maxson, and Ryan Williams (Wiley).
The Sign Up
link on the
The Sign Up link
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246 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
When you’re looking at sites specifically designed for social networking,
remember that Facebook is one of the most popular options. Facebook is
different from MySpace in that you can view complete profiles of only the
people who are in your network, which means that Facebook is better for
targeted networking and protected from spam. Although Facebook was origi-
nally created for college students, it has grown to become a popular social
networking tool for people from around the world and from all walks of life,
regardless of age or organization.
Here are some ways you can use Facebook to drive readers to your blog:
✓ Add your blog’s feed to your Facebook profile.
✓ Post personal notes and updates to keep people within your network
apprised of what you’re working on and news you want to share. For
example, if you just wrote an excellent blog post that you think is
worthy of other bloggers linking to, you can send a message or publish
an update about it on your Facebook profile to spread the word.
✓ Use the Facebook Groups function to create a group for just about any-
thing you want and invite people to join it. Then you can send messages,
share information, and converse with the members of that group.
To join Facebook, simply complete the signup form on the right side of the
Facebook home page and click the Sign Up button, shown in Figure 12-6.
Make sure that you take the time to create a comprehensive profile and start
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247Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
Bloggers can use Facebook in many ways to promote and grow their blogs,
businesses, or themselves. For more ideas and tips, read Facebook For
Dummies, by Carolyn Abram and Leah Pearlman (Wiley).
LinkedIn has a reputation of being the go-to place for business and career-
related social networking. It has a stripped-down interface that’s intended to
be free of spam and irrelevant content. Rather than add “friends,” LinkedIn
users make connections. Similar to Facebook, you cannot view another mem-
ber’s profile unless you have been introduced to that person and are con-
nected to him. Finding another person on LinkedIn can be difficult, which is a
Your LinkedIn profile acts similarly to an online résumé. In it, you upload
your business and career accomplishments. Then you can add your blog
information. If your blog is related to your career or business in any way,
your LinkedIn profile can be another tool to help you drive traffic to it. The
more connections you make, questions you answer, and relationships you
build, the more potential you have for blog traffic.
You can join LinkedIn by visiting the LinkedIn home page and completing the
Join LinkedIn Today form on the right side of the page, shown in Figure 12-7.
When your account is activated, be sure to take the time to create a compre-
hensive profile and then start making connections.
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248 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
You can read about other popular social networking sites in Chapter 17.
Understanding Social Bookmarking
Social bookmarking is basically having an online list of your favorite Web
links that you can share with others. Rather than save a Web page you like
by using your Web browser’s Favorites or Bookmarks function, you can save
those pages online using a social bookmarking site for access from any com-
puter at any time.
Have you ever been using a computer that doesn’t belong to you and tried
to find a page that you saved in your home computer’s Favorites menu? The
problem is solved when you use a social bookmarking site to save your favor-
ite Web pages because, rather than save them on your hard drive, they’re
saved online. You simply log in to your account at the social bookmarking
site and — voilà — all your saved Web pages are available to you. You can
easily find your saved pages by using a social bookmarking site because you
can save them using tags — keywords to help you categorize your saved links
that make it easy to find them later.
Social bookmarking becomes social when you share your bookmarks with
other users. Most social bookmarking sites are set up so that saved links are
automatically available for other users to find when they search for content
using specific tags. Furthermore, many social bookmarking sites use some
kind of voting mechanism that lets users drive links to the home page of the
site for the world to see by simply adding them to their own bookmarks,
which “votes them up.” Alternatively, some social bookmarking sites let
users bury links by “voting them down.”
Promoting your blog by
using social bookmarking
The social aspect of social bookmarking helps bloggers promote their blogs.
If you find a blog post or article online that you think other people will enjoy,
add it to a social bookmarking site. Be sure to
✓ Include a helpful description: To encourage people to click through to
read your entire submission
✓ Use relevant keywords: To help people find your submission
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249Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
The more outstanding content you submit, the better your reputation
becomes on that site. That means more users get to know you, which creates
more relationships that can turn into blog traffic.
Following the rules
Even social bookmarking sites have rules. Keep in mind that these rules are
most important to follow if you’re using social bookmarking sites as a way to
promote your blog and build relationships to that end. If you’re simply using
social bookmarking for your own, personal purposes, you might not have to
be as concerned with these rules. However, you never know how your blog
or online activities can grow and change. One day, you might want to use
social bookmarking sites for more than online storage of personal favorites.
Again, read the rules for each site you use and follow them to ensure your
Following are a couple of rules that are common among social bookmarking
✓ Do not submit your own content: Some social bookmarking sites don’t
like users to submit their own content and penalizes users who do so.
Be sure to read the policies and restrictions related to each social book-
marking site you join so you don’t waste time submitting content that
might be buried immediately. On social bookmarking sites with restric-
tions related to submitting your own content, ask your friends or col-
leagues to submit your content for you, or post a message in your social
networking profiles to ask your friends and connections to submit your
content for you. That’s just one more way that social networking can
help you to promote your blog!
✓ Do not submit content from the same site repeatedly: Make sure that
you submit content from a variety of sites, and always submit the origi-
nal article source rather than a recap article that merely links to the
original source. In other words, give credit where credit is due. Unless a
post adds a significant contribution to the original article (for example,
a helpful analysis, additional information, or an opinionated review),
always submit the source.
Getting to know the popular
social bookmarking sites
No matter which social bookmarking sites you decide to use, the basic meth-
odologies behind how they work are similar. Some of the most popular social
bookmarking sites are discussed in this chapter. You can find out about
other commonly used social bookmarking sites in Chapter 17.
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250 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
Digg is one of the most popular social bookmarking sites. In fact, it’s viewed
more as a social news site because its primary purpose is to share links to
content more so than to bookmark content for personal use. Users submit
content (or “digg” content) by entering the URL, description, and title for the
specific Web page they want to share. They must also select a category that
the content fits into from an automated list, so other users can find it easily.
Recent submissions appear on Digg on an Upcoming page. As other users
find the same content, they can either digg the content if they like it or bury
it if they don’t like it. Doing so can help the content either rise to the home
page of Digg, where millions of people can see it, or fall to a deep page, where
fewer people can find it.
Most bloggers want to see their content appear on the home page of Digg —
which means lots of traffic! However, it’s quite difficult for average users to
find their content rise to the home page of Digg. Much of a user’s success on
Digg comes from the social aspect of the site, where users do the following:
✓ Make friends with other users.
✓ Share content.
✓ Help promote each other’s content.
✓ Comment on each other’s content.
✓ Gain increased authority.
If you want to succeed with Digg, you need to be an active user and follow the
well as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list, which provides the most
You can get started on Digg by clicking the Join Digg link in the top naviga-
tion bar on the Digg home page. Just complete and submit the application to
create your account and then begin submitting content, by following these
1. Log in to your Digg account and click the Submit New button from the
top navigation bar.
This step opens the Submit a New Link page, as shown in Figure 12-8.
2. Enter the URL for the page you want to submit and then click the
News Article, Video, or Image radio button, depending on the type of
content you’re submitting.
Digg automatically digs through your submission as it processes before
an expanded Submit a New Link window opens, as shown in Figure 12-9.
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251Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
3. In the Submit a New Link window, enter a title for your submission in
the Title text box.
Make sure that the title you enter is relevant and compelling and fewer
than 60 characters.
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252 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
4. Enter a description for your submission in the Description text box.
Take a few minutes to write a good description that helps people under-
stand what the submitted content is about.
5. Click the radio button next to the thumbnail image that you want to
appear with your submission.
Choose the most appropriate thumbnail. If none of them is appropriate,
click the radio button next to the No Thumbnail image.
6. Select the best category that your submission falls into by clicking the
appropriate link in the Choose a Topic section of the form.
Take a moment to pick the most relevant category for your submission.
7. Look at the information in the Preview section of the form to ensure
that your submission looks correct.
Scroll up and make any changes, if necessary.
8. Type the spam-blocker text that’s displayed in the box under the Are
You Human heading.
This step is used to prevent spambots from automatically submitting
9. Click the Submit Story button.
The Are You Sure It’s Not a Duplicate window opens.
10. Scroll through the submissions on the Are You Sure It’s Not a
Duplicate page, to ensure that the content you’re submitting hasn’t
already been submitted to Digg.
11. If your submission is on the list of links already submitted to Digg,
simply click the appropriate link to add your vote. If your submis-
sion is new to Digg, click the Totally Original, I Swear! button at the
bottom of the page.
The Success! Your Story Has Been Submitted! window opens, and you’re
StumbleUpon is another popular social bookmarking site where users submit
(or “stumble”) and share links to content they like. The site uses a voting
system that’s fairly similar to the one at Digg. Users stumble content, and
other users vote on the content, giving it a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down.
Content that receives a lot of thumbs-ups can make it to the front page of
StumbleUpon and drive a lot of traffic to that site.
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253Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
To join StumbleUpon, simply click the Join StumbleUpon button on the site’s
home page and complete the online form. After you join, you can add the
StumbleUpon toolbar to your Web browser, which makes it easy to stumble
content with the click of a mouse.
Also similar to the Digg system, StumbleUpon users can add friends to their
networks and use their networks to promote and share specific content. One
of the keys to StumbleUpon success is making many friends and submitting a
lot of excellent content to build your reputation. Although it isn’t against the
rules to submit your own content to StumbleUpon, there’s an unwritten rule
to submit more content that is not yours than content that is yours.
This strategy is easy to follow by using the StumbleUpon toolbar, which
works in popular Web browsers. When you stumble upon a Web page that
you want to share, simply select the thumbs-up icon on your StumbleUpon
toolbar. If the content is new to StumbleUpon, a window automatically opens,
where you can enter details about the submission. If the content has already
been submitted to StumbleUpon, one click of the thumbs-up button (or
thumbs-down button, as the case may be) is all it takes to share the content
Follow these steps to submit new content to StumbleUpon:
1. When you find a page you want to stumble, simply click the thumbs-
up icon from the StumbleUpon toolbar in your browser window.
This step opens the StumbleUpon content submission window, shown in
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254 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
2. If text automatically populates the Title text box, check to ensure that
Be sure to check punctuation marks as well as the text in this box.
3. In the Review text box, enter a description of the content on the page
Make sure that the description you enter is relevant and useful.
4. In the Topic section, click the link for the category that’s most appro-
priate for your submission.
If you don’t see an appropriate category in the list, use the drop-down
menu to find more categories to choose from.
5. Click the appropriate radio button on the Adult line to identify
whether the submission contains content that’s appropriate only for
You can’t submit your content unless you click the Yes or No radio
button in the Adult section of the submission form.
6. Use the drop-down menu to select the language that the content is
The default is English, but a wide variety of language options are avail-
able to choose from.
7. Click the Submit This Site button.
A Rating Submitted message appears, and the window closes automati-
cally. That’s it. You’re done!
Delicious is a popular social bookmarking site that works slightly differently
from Digg and StumbleUpon. Rather than submissions being based on topics
and categories, they’re based on keyword tags. The power of Delicious, there-
fore, in terms of driving traffic to your blog, comes from the quality of the
keywords chosen to tag your content.
Similar to the social aspect of Digg and StumbleUpon, users submit con-
tent and share it with their networks of friends in order to promote it and
drive traffic to it. The chances of your content making it to the front page of
Delicious, where it can be discovered by the highest number of people, often
depends on the size of your network of Delicious user connections that pro-
mote your submissions.
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255Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
To sign up for an account with Delicious, click the Join Now link in the upper-
right corner of the Delicious home page and complete the online registration
form. After your account is created, you can download Delicious toolbar but-
tons so that you can submit content with the click of a mouse. Follow these
1. When you find a page that you want to bookmark with Delicious, click
the Delicious Tag button from your browser toolbar.
This step opens the Save Bookmark window with the URL field already
populated for the page you want to bookmark, as shown in Figure 12-11.
2. In the Title text box, ensure that the title reads correctly.
If the title field automatically populates with a title for the page you’re
submitting, make sure that it’s accurate. If necessary, correct the title or
enter a new one that’s appropriate.
3. In the Notes text box, enter a description of the content you’re
Take the time to write a relevant, useful description.
4. In the Tags field, enter a series of relevant keywords that describe
Separate each tag with a space, and take the time to enter keywords that
people would use to search for the type of content you’re submitting.
5. If you’re submitting a piece of content that you don’t want to share
with other people, select the Do Not Share check box.
This feature is useful if you use Delicious to save content for personal
use as well as public use.
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256 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
6. Click the Save button.
The Save Bookmark window closes and your content is saved to your
Social bookmarking is unlikely to bring floods of traffic to your blog immedi-
ately. It takes time, practice, networking, and commitment to grow your blog
through social bookmarking, but social bookmarking is one more tool in your
promotional toolbox that you can use to slowly create a well-trafficked blog.
Microblogging for Blog Traffic
Microblogging, a relatively new tool of the social Web, allows users to publish
short blog posts or messages, typically fewer than 140 characters, through
their computers and mobile phones It’s a helpful way to keep your name in
front of people and to announce and highlight new blog posts, upcoming
events (such as blog contests or carnivals), and more. The possibilities are
virtually limitless! Think of it as free publicity.
When you begin microblogging, you create an account and start publishing
content. You can even include some microblogging feeds in your social net-
working profiles, such as in your Facebook account. Microbloggers sign up
to “follow” other microbloggers they like. That’s what makes microblogging
social. When users sign up to follow each other’s content, microblogging
becomes a tool for sharing, networking, and relationship building.
The best part about microblogging is the quick and easy way it allows users
to share news, information, and content. It’s this type of sharing that can
make a post go viral (spread across the Web). The potential exists, at the
least, for news and information to travel quickly online. Microblogging really
just began in 2007, but already millions of people have joined through Web
sites such as Twitter and Plurk.
You can join Twitter by visiting its home page and clicking the Get Started —
Join button, shown in Figure 12-12. Complete the online form to create a free
Twitter account and then you can start “tweeting!”
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257Chapter 12: The Power of Networking and Relationship Building
to start a
To join Plurk, simply visit the Plurk home page and click the Sign Up for Free
button, shown in Figure 12-13. Complete the online signup form, and you’re
ready to go!
Sign up for
a free Plurk
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258 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
Use microblogging to supplement your blogging efforts by writing short
updates and messages and sharing links, videos, and more. The choice is
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In This Chapter
▶ Understanding the basic concepts of search engine optimization
▶ Increasing your search engine ranking
▶ Looking up your page rank and links
One statistic that you as a blogger are likely to be interested in during
the course of your blogging endeavors is how people find your site.
You’re likely to learn over time that the vast amount of traffic to your blog
comes from search engines. Popular search engines include Google, Yahoo!,
MSN, AOL, and Ask, but many others are also available to Web surfers. The
key to blogging success is to find ways to help those Web surfers find your
blog as a result of their search engine queries. That’s where search engine
optimization comes into play.
This chapter isn’t meant to provide a comprehensive look at search engine
optimization but rather, an overview of how you can begin thinking about
search engine optimization as you develop your blog. When you’re ready
to dive into search engine optimization, I recommend that you read Search
Engine Optimization For Dummies, Third Edition, by Peter Kent (Wiley), and
spend some time reading Web sites dedicated to the topic, such as www.
Understanding Search Engine
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of creating or modifying your
Web pages to increase their rankings in search engine queries. You might
think of it this way: If you write a blog about parenting, for example, would
people find your blog if they type the word parenting into their preferred
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260 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
search engines? Unfortunately, the answer is probably not. Why? It’s simple,
really. Millions of Web sites and Web pages discuss parenting. A Google
search using the search term parenting returns nearly 92 million results, as
shown in Figure 13-1. With all that competition, how can you make your blog
posts rise to the top? One answer is search engine optimization.
Implementing SEO tactics on your blog is just one key to the search success
model — you also need to work on increasing your blog’s page rank by writ-
ing useful content, networking, and generating lots of incoming links, particu-
larly from popular sites. Post frequently to provide numerous entry points to
your blog, and keep learning, tweaking, and testing to find what works best
for you, your blog, and your visitors. In other words, there’s no quick solu-
tion and no simple answer to blogging success. It takes time, patience, and
effort to develop a popular blog. However, you can take steps to reach your
blogging goals, and SEO is one of those steps.
Driving traffic to your blog
The vast majority of search engine-related blog traffic comes from Google
and Yahoo! followed by MSN, AOL, and Ask. Google and Yahoo control more
than 50 percent of the online search market, so it’s safe to say that in the
beginning stages of your SEO efforts, focusing on those two search engines
is a less intimidating route to follow. Search engines use proprietary criteria
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261Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking
to crawl (or search through), rate, and index pages then match those pages
to keyword queries based on a variety of factors. No one truly knows the fac-
tors used to rank search results, and just when someone thinks that he has
figured it out, the algorithms undoubtedly change. A few elements seem to
be standard. Results are typically delivered based on three primary factors:
links that help to define the site’s overall popularity, content that helps to
determine what the page is about, and frequency of updating which shows
the site is active.
So how can you optimize your blog posts for search if no one knows search
engine criteria used to rank pages? Of course, you can always hire a profes-
sional SEO expert to help you, but that’s not usually in the beginner blogger’s
budget. Instead, the average blogger usually does some research and tries
to implement a handful of tactics to give her blog a boost in overall search
engine rankings for targeted keywords.
Using keyword analysis
To find information they’re interested in, people enter keywords and key-
word phrases into search engine query fields. The search engine returns
relevant results and ranks them for users to scroll through and select results
that appeal to them. Most people don’t look beyond the first few pages of
search results, which typically place ten results on a page. Unless your blog
appears within the first 30 or so results for a specific keyword search, there-
fore, people are unlikely to find your blog by using engines.
Not all the news is bad, however. With each new blog post you write, you
create a new entry point for your blog. You can optimize each post for search
engines in order to exponentially boost your chances of people finding your
blog by way of search engines. In other words, each blog post gives you a
new opportunity to create content that focuses on keywords your audience
uses to find content. Your goal is to write useful content on your blog so that
when a person finds it by using a search engine, she’s compelled to click
through and visit additional posts. The ultimate goal is to convert that search
traffic into loyal readers.
Of course, keyword-targeted posts can drive traffic, but unless those key-
words are relevant to your overall blog content, don’t expect visitors who
find your blog by searching for those irrelevant keywords to stay for long,
and they certainly won’t become loyal readers. When people who want to
find the type of content you publish on your blog open their preferred search
engines and type their queries, they use certain keywords. Your goal is to
write posts that contain those keywords.
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262 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
It pays to be specific. Using the example mentioned earlier in this chapter, if
your blog is about parenting, you need to determine your overall niche or the
niches of your individual blog posts. Rising to the top ten in a Google search
for the keyword parenting is nearly impossible because so much competition
exists, including competition from some of the top Web sites now online that
have deep pockets and phenomenal reputations.
Many bloggers use keyword analysis tools to determine which keywords to
focus on in their blog posts in order to boost search engine traffic to their
blogs. An easy and free way to determine the popularity of keywords is to
create a Google AdWords account and pretend that you’re an advertiser.
AdWords pay-per-click advertisers have to determine which keywords people
are searching for, so they can bid on them to maximize the success of their
ads. You can do the same thing and search for keywords related to your
blog’s content that are driving high bids. Then use those words within your
It isn’t necessary to bid on keywords to use AdWords for your keyword
To create a Google AdWords account, visit http://adwords.google.com
and click the Start Now button shown in Figure 13-2.
If you prefer, you can use a version of the Google AdWords Keywords tool
without creating a Google AdWords account: Visit https://adwords.
google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal, as shown in Figure 13-3.
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263Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking
Use the free
tool to find
Simply enter a keyword and click the Get Keyword Ideas button, and a list of
keyword suggestions is displayed with average search volume statistics and
search volume statistics for previous months, as shown in Figure 13-4.
A search for
Use the Choose Columns to Display drop-down menu to see as many as seven
columns of data, as shown in Figure 13-5. You can also use the Match Type
drop-down menu to display broad, phrase, or negative results, and you can
scroll to the bottom of the list of related keywords to find links that let you
save the results as a text, Microsoft Excel, or CSV file.
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264 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
If you’re serious about search engine optimization and prepared to invest
some money into keyword analysis, you can open an account with a keyword
research Web site like Wordtracker (www.Wordtracker.com). Simply go to
the Wordtracker home page and click the Buy Now link (see Figure 13-6).
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265Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking
Wordtracker offers a wide variety of tools and reports to help you narrow the
list of which keywords you should focus on in your blog posts to maximize
potential traffic. Other options similar to Wordtracker include the ones at
www.Wordze.com and www.KeywordDiscovery.com. Like Wordtracker,
each of these sites requires paying a fee, but free trials are available so you
can test drive-them before you pay anything out of your pocket.
Boosting popularity by using links
Another critical component to search engine optimization success is link
building — particularly, attracting incoming links from popular Web sites.
Search engines rank sites with many incoming links higher than those with
few incoming links. The reason is that search engines are programmed to
assume that sites with many incoming links contain useful content that
people want to link to. In other words, if the content on a site is terrible, no
one wants to link to it, but useful content attracts many links. Your goal in
search engine optimization is to attract incoming links, particularly incoming
links from popular, authoritative blogs and Web sites.
The best way to attract incoming links is to write excellent blog posts that
people want to share. Other bloggers are a likely source for incoming links,
but even online news and media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and
New York Times have been known to link to individual blog posts. Those links
are valuable to beginner bloggers!
You can increase your incoming links by making the most of your online rela-
tionships in the following ways:
✓ Use social bookmarking, social networking, and microblogging to share
links to useful posts, as described in detail in Chapter 12.
✓ Write content for multiple Web sites and interlink them.
✓ Write articles for online publications related to your blog’s topic.
✓ E-mail top bloggers or news organizations who might be interested in
sharing your posts.
✓ Don’t be afraid to “toot your own horn” when you think you have some-
thing interesting to share.
Outgoing links are also important to search engine optimization. Search
engines value linked text, and as far as Google is concerned, the links within
your blog posts as well as the text around the links within your blog posts are
rated as more important than the other text within your blog posts. Use rel-
evant keywords in your links whenever possible to make sure search engines
see them and weight them accordingly. Search engine optimization tips are
discussed in more detail later in this chapter.
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266 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
A key component to SEO success is building relationships with other bloggers
and Web site authors who are likely to link to, share, and promote your
Using SEO to Increase Your
Search Engine Ranking
You can use a variety of activities and tactics both on and off your blog to
boost your search engine rankings. Similarly, you can do things that hurt
your search engine rankings. Google, the most popular search engine, might
even drop your blog from its search results entirely for certain actions you
might take. The following sections provide some tips for things you can
do, and can avoid doing, if you want to generate more traffic from search
Using SEO tips and tricks
Search engine optimization can seem daunting, but you can take a number of
simple actions to boost your rankings. Try the suggestions described in the
following list on your own blog and start driving search traffic to your posts:
✓ Use your keyword or keyword phrase in your blog post titles. Search
engines weigh titles more heavily than other text, so do your best to
include your keywords in your post titles.
✓ Use your keyword or keyword phrase within the first paragraph of
your blog post. Search engines value the text within the first few hun-
dred characters of your post more heavily than other text, so be sure to
repeat your keywords in this part of your post.
✓ Use your keyword or keyword phrase as hyperlinks within your blog
posts. Make sure that the hyperlinks within your blog posts include your
keywords when it’s appropriate. For example, rather than write “Read
more here,” with the word here as the hyperlink, write “Follow the link
to read more about parenting tips,” with parenting tips as the hyperlink.
Search engines value linked text higher than normal text, so use that
concept to your advantage by using keywords in your links.
✓ Use heading tags and include your keywords within them. Rather than
simply make headings and subheads boldface, apply the HTML H1, H2,
and H3 tags to that text. These tags are valued higher by search engines
than normal or bolded text is.
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267Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking
✓ Use your keyword or keyword phrase around links in your posts.
Search engines value the text surrounding links within your posts higher
than normal text, so if you can’t use your keywords within a link, try to
use them in the text surrounding the links.
✓ Use your keyword or keyword phrase to name images used in your posts.
Take a moment to rename images used in your blog posts to include your
keywords when those keywords are relevant to the image. Enter a descrip-
tor using your keywords in the alt tag (the alternative text if the image
doesn’t appear in the person’s Web browser) of your post’s HTML.
✓ Include your keyword phrase in your blog’s URL. If you can get a
domain name that includes your keywords, you hit the jackpot. When
possible, try to include keywords in some part of each blog post’s URL.
✓ Ask for incoming links from similar sites. Leverage your online rela-
tionships, as described earlier in this chapter, to boost incoming links
to your blogs. Links from topically similar blogs and Web sites are
weighted more heavily than those from irrelevant sites. Similarly, links
from popular blogs and Web sites are weighted more heavily than links
from blogs and Web sites that have little traffic and lower page ranks.
✓ Use variations of your keyword or keyword phrase. Don’t feel tied
down to a specific keyword or keyword phrase. Search engine algo-
rithms are intelligent, and they accordingly understand and rank varia-
tions of a word or phrase used within your blog posts.
✓ Intralink your blog posts. Although links within your own blog aren’t
valued as highly as external links by search engines are, they’re still
important. Internal links are given some weight in search engine rank-
ings, but more importantly, they lead visitors to more content, which
can provide more opportunities for visitors to find content of interest
that they want to link to from their own blogs or Web sites.
✓ Post frequently. Your posting frequency has an indirect effect on your
search engine traffic. With each new keyword-optimized blog post, you
increase the chances that someone will find your blog, enjoy the content
and link to it, and generate more incoming links, which search engines
✓ Comment on other blogs and in online forums and groups.
Commenting is useful in terms of indirect search engine optimization
because it can lead new visitors to your blog who might enjoy what they
read there and link to it from their own blogs and Web sites — thereby
boosting your search rankings.
✓ Build relationships. With each new relationship you build online, you
develop another portal for sharing information and potential incoming
✓ Write useful content. The bottom line is that you should write posts
that people want to link to.
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268 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
Hurting your ranking by
making simple mistakes
As you begin driving traffic from search engines to your blog, you can easily
fall into traps that can have the opposite effect on your blog. Search engines
such as Google don’t typically give Web sites or blogs a second chance after
they’re caught doing something that the search engine doesn’t like. Often,
you have no recourse. The difficult part of search engine optimization is that
sites such as Google don’t tell people what they did wrong to end up being
blacklisted. With that in mind, heed some of the following warnings to stay on
Google’s good side.
✓ Don’t keyword stuff. Use a keyword or keyword phrase, but don’t plas-
ter it all over your blog. Keyword stuffing is a big no-no as far as search
engines are concerned. If you’re found keyword stuffing, your blog
is flagged as spam and is likely to be removed from Google searches
✓ Don’t hide keywords. Don’t try to hide keyword stuffing by including
your keywords at the bottom of your pages in an extremely small font
or in a color that matches your blog’s background. Search engines find
them and punish you for it.
✓ Don’t buy links or publish links that are paid for. Search engines don’t
like text link ads that don’t use the NoFollow tag because they give the
purchaser an unnaturally inflated number of incoming links. Both the
purchaser and the publisher are then penalized harshly.
✓ Don’t publish sponsored posts without using the NoFollow tag. Just
as search engines don’t tolerate link buying in the form of text link
ads, they also don’t like it in the form of sponsored posts. If you’re
caught writing posts for payment that include specific keyword links
without the NoFollow tag, your blog can be removed from search engine
✓ Don’t go link-trading-crazy. You may be tempted to try to trade links
with as many other blogs and Web sites as possible, but this strategy
doesn’t boost your search engine rankings. Instead, invest your time in
building relationships with key bloggers and Web site authors who pub-
lish content similar to yours. These links are far more valuable to your
search engine optimization efforts.
Think quality, not quantity.
✓ Don’t include a high quantity of irrelevant links to external pages
within your blog posts. Again, quality wins over quantity. Linking to
sites related to yours that offer high-quality content groups your blog
with those other sites as far as search engines are concerned and gives
your blog better rankings.
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269Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking
✓ Avoid companies that offer pie-in-the-sky search engine optimization
claims. Always research a search engine optimization company before
you pay for any services. Many companies that claim immediate, drastic
results simply operate link farms that have exactly the opposite effect
on your blog’s search engine results than you want.
✓ Never copy content from another page or Web site. Search engines
don’t tolerate copying content from another page within your own blog
(an entire page of content), but they tolerate it even less if they catch
you copying someone else’s content. Copying content from another site
(scraping) is not only a spam technique but also a violation of copyright
laws. Instead, create original, compelling content.
✓ Don’t limit your search engine optimization efforts to Google. Sure,
Google is the world’s largest search engine, but it can also be the most
competitive for boosting your rankings and traffic. Take some time to
invest your search engine optimization efforts in search engines such
as Yahoo! and MSN. Spend time tracking your success on those sites as
well as on Google.
✓ Don’t give up. Keep search engine optimization in mind every time you
write a blog post. You never know which post might be the one that will
drive lots of traffic to your blog!
The do’s and don’ts listed in this chapter refer primarily to blog posts, but
don’t forget to apply these techniques to other parts of your blog, including
your sidebar elements.
No one knows the criteria used by search engines to deliver keyword search
results. If you’re serious about implementing search engine optimization tech-
niques on your blog, research SEO online and stay current with the changes
and opinions of the experts.
Checking Your Page Rank and Links
An important part of search engine optimization success is tracking the
results of your efforts. Two simple ways to track your ongoing success
include checking your page rank and checking the number of incoming links
to your blog. A variety of Web sites offer free page rank and link checker
tools. The following list describes some of the most common ways to check
both your blog’s page rank and incoming links:
✓ Incoming links according to Google Web search: Visit www.google.
com and enter the text link:www.yourblogname.com in the search box.
The returned results show you the pages that link to your blog.
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270 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
✓ Incoming links according to Google Blog Search: Visit www.blog
search.google.com and enter link:www.yourblogname.com in the
search box. The returned results show you a list of blogs that link to
✓ Comprehensive information from Google Webmaster Tools: Visit
www.google.com/webmasters/tools and set up an account to get
comprehensive information about your blog.
✓ Incoming links according to Yahoo!: Visit www.yahoo.com and enter
linkdomain:www.yourblogname.com in the search box. The returned
results show you pages that link to your blog according to the compre-
hensive Yahoo! Site Explorer tools.
✓ Incoming links according to Technorati: Visit www.technorati.com/
blogs/yourblogname.com?reactions? (replace the italics with your
blog name). The returned results show you blogs that link to yours.
✓ Incoming links according to Marketleap: Visit www.marketleap.com/
services/freetools/default.htm and click the link for the free
Link Popularity Check tool. Complete the online form to find a wealth of
information about incoming links to your blog. Marketleap also offers a
free keyword verification tool and a free search engine saturation tool.
Take some time to experiment with these tools to see how they can help
you analyze your blog’s performance.
✓ Incoming links according to PRChecker.info: Many Web sites offer free
tools for checking your page rank. Simply enter page rank checker into
the Google search box, and a variety of results is returned. PRChecker.
info is a commonly used tool: Visit www.prchecker.info/check_
page_rank.php and enter your blog’s URL in the text box. Click the
Check PR button, and your Google page rank is automatically returned.
You can also add Google Page Rank buttons to your blog’s sidebar by
Alternatively, you can set up a Google Alert so that each time another blog or
Web site links to yours, you receive an e-mail notification message. To do so,
follow these steps:
1. Visit Google Alerts at www.google.com/alerts.
This step opens the Google Alerts page, shown in Figure 13-7.
2. Enter link:www.yourblogname.com in the Search Terms text box.
This step tells Google Alerts that you want to be notified anytime a blog
or Web site links to your blog.
3. From the Type drop-down menu, choose the Comprehensive option.
This step configures your alert to notify you of all results from multiple
sources (news, Web, and blogs, for example) rather than just specific
types of results.
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271Chapter 13: Boosting Your Search Engine Ranking
4. From the How Often drop-down menu, specify how often you want to
You can choose to receive updates as they happen, once per day, or
once per week.
5. Enter your e-mail address in the Your Email field.
The e-mail address entered in this box is where your Google alerts are
Although each of these tools provides results that you can use for analysis,
keep in mind that none of them is 100 percent accurate. If you use more than
one tool, you’re likely to notice that your results differ from one tool to the
next. A variety of reasons lurk behind the scenes, but the important thing to
remember is that these tools can give you a basic idea of your blog’s popular-
ity and position within the blogosphere.
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272 Part IV: Growing Your Audience
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In this part . . .
Many options are available to Blogger users to
extend their blogs. Chapter 14 shows you how to
add and delete blogs and set up multiuser blogs.
Chapter 15 deciphers the nuances of moblogging, vlog-
ging, and podcasting, and Chapter 16 tells you all about
how to take your blog to the next level by redirecting it to
your own domain and hosting it through a third party.
Never fear: Chapter 16 also shows you where to get help if
you need it!
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In This Chapter
▶ Creating another blog or getting rid of one
▶ Creating multiuser blogs
Considering that a wide world of opportunity is open to bloggers and
Blogger users, you may want to prepare yourself for future success by
finding out how to grow or downsize your blog.
As you spend time blogging and become more familiar with Blogger and the
overall blogosphere, you might find yourself in a position to add blogs to
your Blogger account — or even to delete a blog. The day might also come
when you want to cancel your entire Blogger account. This chapter shows
you how to accomplish these tasks.
As your blogging experience and know-how increases, you may decide to
start a team blog. Setting up multiuser blogs is easy in Blogger, and this chap-
ter shows you how to do it. You can even find out how to join and leave other
people’s team blogs.
Adding and Deleting Blogs
Over time, your blogging goals inevitably change. What began as a fun per-
sonal blog can grow into a blogging career. Your success comes from the
time and effort you put into your blogging. With this concept in mind, you
should understand how to add and delete blogs from your Blogger account.
Adding a blog
The process for adding a new blog to your Blogger account is simple: Just
sign in to your Blogger account and follow these steps to add another blog to
your existing account:
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276 Part V: Extending Your Blog
1. After logging in to your account, click the Create a Blog link in the
upper-right corner of your Blogger dashboard.
This step opens the Name Your Blog page, where you can enter the
details for your new blog (see Figure 14-1).
2. On the Name Your Blog page, enter a title for your blog in the Blog
Title text box.
This title appears in the header of your new blog. You can change the
title later, if you want.
3. In the Blog Address (URL) text box, enter the name you want to use in
your blog’s URL.
4. Click the Check Availability link to ensure that the name you enter
isn’t already taken.
A message appears telling you if the name is available. If the name isn’t
available, repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you find an available name that you
5. Enter the text that’s displayed in the Word Verification box.
If you can’t read the text, turn on your computer speakers and click the
wheelchair icon to hear a series of numbers, which you can enter in the
Word Verification box rather than the displayed text string.
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277Chapter 14: Growing or Downsizing Your Blog
In the Advanced Options section is an area where you can designate
where you want to host your blog. Third-party hosting is described in
detail in Chapter 16.
If you want to host your new blog at Blogger, simply skip this section of
the Name Your Blog page.
6. Click the Continue button.
The Choose a Template page opens, as shown in Figure 14-2.
7. Scroll through the template options to find the one you want to use on
your new blog.
Click the radio button next to your template of choice.
8. Click the Continue button at the bottom of the screen.
The Your Blog Has Been Created page opens (see Figure 14-3).
9. Click the Start Blogging button to write your first post on your new
Click the Dashboard link in the upper-right corner of your screen to see
your new blog listed on your Blogger dashboard (see Figure 14-4).
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278 Part V: Extending Your Blog
blog on your
Deleting a blog
You can easily delete a blog from your Blogger account, but because doing
so is so easy — and permanent — you must be careful not to inadvertently
delete a blog that you want to keep. Follow these steps to delete a blog from
your Blogger account — but always make certain that the blog you choose to
delete is the correct one!
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279Chapter 14: Growing or Downsizing Your Blog
1. From the Blogger dashboard (refer to Figure 14-4), click the Settings
link under the blog you want to delete.
In this example, the Growing and Downsizing Blogs blog is chosen for
This step opens the Settings page in your Blogger account with the Basic
tab automatically selected, as shown in Figure 14-5.
2. Scroll to the bottom of the Basic Settings page to the Delete Your Blog
section, shown in Figure 14-6.
Click the Delete This Blog button.
A dialog box opens and asks, “Permanently delete this blog and all
entries? Note: This will not delete any files that were transferred to your
3. If you’re certain that you want to delete your blog, click the OK
4. When you visit your Blogger dashboard, the blog you deleted no
longer appears in your list of blogs, as shown in Figure 14-7.
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280 Part V: Extending Your Blog
blog is as
You cannot restore a blog after you delete it. Make sure, therefore, that you’re
100 percent sure you want to delete a blog and that you’re deleting the correct
one before you click that final OK button.
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281Chapter 14: Growing or Downsizing Your Blog
Canceling a Blogger account
Although there’s no way to completely cancel your Blogger account, you can
take a couple of actions to make your Blogger account invisible to the online
✓ Delete any blogs in your Blogger account.
✓ Remove all personal information from your Blogger profile. Replace
information in required fields with nonsensical information.
Do not delete your e-mail address from your Blogger account unless you are
100 percent certain you will never want to use your account again. Without
your e-mail address, Blogger cannot provide your username and password to
you if you request it later.
Setting Up Multiuser Team Blogs
As your blog grows, you might find that you want to invite additional blog-
gers to write posts on your blog with their own bylines. There are many rea-
sons to start a team blog, such as to
✓ Add different voices to a topic
✓ Increase post frequency
✓ Increase exposure
Luckily, Blogger makes it quite easy to add team members to your blog, set
permissions for each member, and even remove members later, if necessary.
Adding team members
Adding a team member to a Blogger blog is as simple as sending an e-mail
through an online form and clicking your mouse button a few times. Follow
these steps to add a team member to your blog:
1. From your Blogger dashboard (refer to Figure 14-4), click the Settings
link for the appropriate blog.
This step opens the Basic Settings page (refer to Figure 14-5).
2. Select the Permissions tab from the top navigation bar.
The Permissions Settings page opens, as shown in Figure 14-8.
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282 Part V: Extending Your Blog
3. Click the Add Authors button in the Blog Authors section.
A text box appears in which you can type the e-mail addresses of people
you want to invite to become authors on your blog, as shown in Fig-
ure 14-9. Be sure to separate each e-mail address with a comma if you’re
entering more than one.
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283Chapter 14: Growing or Downsizing Your Blog
4. Click the Invite button.
An e-mail is automatically sent to each person whose e-mail address you
entered in the invitation field (see Figure 14-10). Each individual’s e-mail
address to which an invitation was sent appears on your Blogger dash-
board with the date the invitation was sent on the right side of the page
(see Figure 14-11). Each person invited to become an author on your
blog receives an e-mailed invitation that she must respond to in order to
gain access to your blog.
on a blog.
page of your
An Invite Again link is also included, which you can click to resend your
invitation. A Remove button is also included, which is discussed in
greater detail in the section, “Leaving a Team Blog,” later in this chapter.
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284 Part V: Extending Your Blog
When the invited author responds to the e-mail invitation that was sent
to him by clicking the link in the e-mail and signing in with his Google
Account username and password, the status on the Permissions page
for that member changes to Author.
A Grant Admin Privileges link appears next to each author. This link is
discussed in detail in the following section.
If the link within an e-mail invitation to join a team blog doesn’t work, the
recipient can try to copy and paste the link into her browser window rather
than simply select it with her mouse. Not all links always work in an e-mail
The link included in a team blog invitation works one time only. If a recipient
clicks the link but doesn’t complete the login process to accept the invitation,
the link is no longer valid and a new invitation must be sent to that person.
Establishing the blog administrator
On any team blog, at least one person must have access to all the features
and functionalities of the blog and be able to make necessary changes to
it. That person is the blog administrator (or admin), and he controls all the
blog’s settings, including being able to
✓ Modify the template
✓ Add and remove team members
✓ Edit or delete posts
You can have more than one blog administrator for a blog, but at least one
must be defined within the blog’s settings.
You can change blog administrator settings by visiting the Permissions page
within your Blogger dashboard. As team members accept your invitations to
join your blog, their statuses change to Author. Authors are allowed to write,
publish, and edit posts, but nothing else.
A Grant Admin Privileges link is included next to each author’s name and
e-mail address . If you want to give a specific author access to the various set-
tings of your Blogger account for this blog, click the Grant Admin Privileges
link next to that author’s name and e-mail address. Her status changes to
Admin. Similarly, you can remove that person’s administrator privileges by
clicking the Remove Admin Privileges link next to that admin’s name and
e-mail address. It’s that easy!
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285Chapter 14: Growing or Downsizing Your Blog
Joining and leaving team blogs
Although you might want to add or remove team members from your own
blog, you might also be invited to write for other blogs. If so, you should
understand how to join (and leave) another blogger’s team blog.
Accepting Blogger author invitations
When you’re invited to join a team blog, you receive an e-mail like the one
shown in Figure 14-10. To join the blog as an author, simply click the link
provided in the e-mail and log in as instructed using your Google Account
username and password. That’s all there is to it. You can now create and edit
posts for that blog. The blog also appears on your Blogger dashboard login
screen and in your Blogger profile.
Leaving a team blog
Leaving a team blog is even easier than joining a team blog. Simply visit the
Permissions Settings page of the Blogger dashboard. If you’re an administra-
tor of that blog, you can simply click the Remove link next to your name and
e-mail address. If your status is set as Author, a Remove Yourself from This
Blog link appears. Simply click that link, and you’re done. Your posts still
appear on the blog, but you can no longer access the dashboard to write or
edit posts, and the blog is removed from your Blogger login dashboard and
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286 Part V: Extending Your Blog
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In This Chapter
▶ Mobile blogging
▶ Audio blogging
▶ Video blogging
As you become more comfortable with blogging, you might want to
branch out and try new methods of creating content and new tech-
nology to add interest to your blog. Using Blogger, you can blog on the go,
publish audio and video blogs, and more. It’s up to your creativity and the
technology you want to invest in. Remember that it’s your blog, and you
decide what you publish on it.
With those creative opportunities in mind, this chapter introduces you to
some of the different media available to help you create and publish content
to your blog. Although some of the techniques discussed in this chapter
require you to purchase additional equipment, remember that none of these
options is essential. (They’re just options.) You might want to try some of
these techniques right away, or you may never use any of them. Again, it’s
your blog, so you run the show.
Blogging on the Go: Mobile Blogging
Blogger users can publish blog posts using their cellular phones with Blogger
Mobile. You simply create a message — which can consist of text, video, or
a photo — and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. A new blog is automatically cre-
ated to publish your mobile blog posts, and you receive a return a message
that provides you with the address for your new mobile blog — or mo-blog.
You also receive a “token” (sort of like a digital code) that lets you claim
your new mobile blog from your existing Blogger account. Just log in to www.
go.blogger.com, enter the token in the Claim Token text box (see Figure 15-1),
claim your new mobile blog, and follow the instructions that are provided to
merge the blog with your existing Blogger blog. You can modify your mobile
settings at any time by clicking the Mobile Devices link that appears on your
Blogger dashboard after the initial setup is completed.
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288 Part V: Extending Your Blog
To create a mobile blog, you need to use a participating carrier and have a
service plan that includes multimedia messaging and text messaging. (Also,
your phone must be able to send and receive text messages.)
Imagine that you’re on vacation and see an amazing sight that you want to
share with your blog readers. Using Blogger Mobile, you can — within min-
utes — snap a picture with your cellular phone and send it to publish on your
Podcasting with Audio
A podcast is an audio or video blog post. It can be about any subject you
want, and it can be as long (or short) as you want. A variety of tools are
available online and offline to help you create an audio file, upload it to the
Web, and then publish it on your blog. This section focuses on audio, and the
“Podcasting with Video” section focuses on video.
After your podcast is published in one of your blog posts, your readers can
listen to it and comment on it. The reader experience is exactly the same as
in a traditional written blog post, but rather than read, visitors listen as if
they’re listening to a radio broadcast. The comment, conversation, and link-
ing process works the same as it does with traditional written blog posts.
If you’re truly interested in knowing all the tricks and tools to become a top
podcaster, read Expert Podcasting Practices For Dummies by Tee Morris, Evo
Terra, and Ryan Williams (Wiley).
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289Chapter 15: Blogging from Different Media
Making the case for podcasts
It has been said that podcasts have drawn a completely new audience to the
blogosphere over the course of the past several years. A medium that was
once enjoyed primarily by people who liked reading became a medium that
now attracts people who enjoy listening, too. In fact, podcasting has grown in
popularity so quickly that Web sites dedicated entirely to sharing bloggers’
podcasts have popped up, and some have even turned podcasts into online
radio shows, such as the one at www.BlogTalkRadio.com.
No single format for podcasting success exists. If you search the Internet, you
can find podcasts on just about every subject imaginable. From cooking to
sports, music to gardening, and everything in between, people are creating
podcasts about it. The key to podcasting success comes not from the topic
you’re talking about, but, rather, from what you’re saying. The same recipes
for successful blogging can be applied to successful podcasting.
Say something interesting, and people will come.
You can also promote your podcast just as you promote your written blog
posts. Additionally, a number of podcast directories are available online,
such as the one at www.Podcast.com, that allow you to post your podcast
link and drive traffic to it.
Just as podcasts can attract a completely new audience to your blog, they
can also alienate (or at least confuse) your current readers. Test the waters
with your audience to ensure that they’re receptive to podcasts. If necessary,
provide detailed instructions to help your current readers understand how to
listen to your podcasts.
Ensuring that you have the
right podcasting tools
Unfortunately, to create a podcast, you probably need to buy some equip-
ment. It’s essential that your podcasts are recorded clearly, or else no one
will listen to them. Make sure that your microphone works well and has
excellent sound quality, and record your podcast when there’s no chance
that background noise will interrupt the recording.
Podcasting also requires the use of sound recording and editing software.
Luckily, some free options are available online, such as http://audacity.
sourceforge.net. You also need a place to store your podcasts online. You
can use a hosting or storage site, such as BlueHost (www.bluehost.com)
or Box (www.box.net). Alternatively, you can use a service such as Gabcast
(www.gabcast.com) or Hipcast (wwwHipcast.com), both of which offer
methods for you to easily create podcasts and publish them to your blog.
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290 Part V: Extending Your Blog
Be certain to check the fees and restrictions for hosting or storage providers
to ensure that the offerings and price meet your needs.
As you research sound recording, editing, hosting, and storage providers, look
for free trial offers so you can take a test drive before you commit to paying
As podcasting becomes more popular, people are continually branching out
and trying new methods and tools. For example, Skype users (www.skype.
com) can talk to each other over the Internet for free. The conversation can
even be recorded, saved, and published on your blog as a podcast interview!
Creating and publishing a podcast
Creating a podcast can seem intimidating the first time you do it, but after
you try it, you’re likely to fall in love with it. Follow these directions to get
1. Record your audio file and save it as an MP3 file.
MP3 files are commonly used for audio files, and they play on most com-
puters and audio players. Imagine someone downloading your podcast
and listening to it on his iPod during a morning jog!
2. Upload your podcast file to your host or online storage provider.
No one can hear your podcast unless it’s available somewhere online
for them to access. That’s where the host or storage provider enters the
3. Copy the URL for your podcast and keep it handy. Then open your
Blogger dashboard and click the Settings link.
The Basic Settings page opens.
4. From the Basic Settings page, select the Formatting tab in the top navi-
The Formatting Settings page opens.
5. On the Formatting Settings page, shown in Figure 15-2, scroll down to
the Show Link Fields option.
You use the Show Link Fields option to set your blog to enable enclo-
sure links. Once allowed, you can link to your podcast file from directly
within the blog post editor in your Blogger dashboard.
6. Select Yes from the Show Link Fields drop-down menu, shown in
Figure 15-3. Then click the Save Settings button.
This step adds the appropriate enclosure link field to your blog post
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291Chapter 15: Blogging from Different Media
7. Select the Posting tab from the top navigation bar, shown in Fig-
ure 15-4, to open your blog post editor.
You now see, under the Title text box, a Link text box, where you can
enter a URL that you want your title to link to. For podcasting, however,
you want the link labeled Add Enclosure Link, which appears under the
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292 Part V: Extending Your Blog
Link in the
8. Click the Add Enclosure Link.
A new section of the page opens, as shown in Figure 15-5.
The Enclosure Link box
9. Enter the URL of your podcast under the URL heading in the Enclosures
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293Chapter 15: Blogging from Different Media
Blogger autodetects the mime type of your podcast file, so just leave the
Mime Type field blank.
10. To add more podcasts to your blog post, click the link labeled Add
Enclosure Link again.
Another text box appears, as shown in Figure 15-6 where you can add
another podcast link URL. Continue adding enclosure links until all the
podcast links you want to add to your post are included.
When your blog visitors view your blog post that includes your podcast, they
can listen to it by just clicking the mouse!
If you burned an RSS feed for your blog by using FeedBurner, you can also
burn a feed for your podcasts that can be recognized and played in various
feed readers, such as Google Reader, and by sites such as iTunes, Juice (for-
merly iPodder), and NetNewsWire. You can also monetize your podcast feed
Podcasting with Video
A video blog (or vlog) contains videos rather than written posts. Vlogging is
becoming more popular everyday as bloggers try to find ways to reach new
audiences and inject more personality into their blogs. Of course, you can
include an occasional video post — or even frequent video posts — on your
blog, although a true vlog is made up entirely of video posts.
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294 Part V: Extending Your Blog
Before the term vlog became popular, people referred to video blog posts as
video podcasts and to audio blog posts as audio podcasts. Blogging vernacular
has changed to differentiate between these types of posts, but you may still
hear the term podcast to refer to both video and audio posts.
Using vlogging equipment
Vlogging is a fun way to share information and elicit comments from visi-
tors, but it requires special equipment and considerations. First, you need a
camcorder (or webcam) in order to upload videos to your computer’s hard
drive, and you need to take the time to understand how to use video editing
software. Luckily, a variety of video editing software programs and applica-
tions are available. Some are even available for free. Determine your ultimate
vlogging goals, and then do some research to find the video editing program
that best meets your needs. Popular video editing programs include Final Cut
Pro, iMovie (Mac), Vlog It (Adobe), and Windows Movie Maker.
After you set up your camcorder and video editing program, make sure
that you have a high-speed Internet connection — online videos are nearly
unwatchable unless you have high-speed Internet access. This concept
applies to your audience, too: If the majority of your readers (or potential
new audience members who are driven by your video content) don’t have
high-speed Internet access, they may not be able to watch your video posts.
You can learn more about vlogging in Video Blogging For Dummies, by
Stephanie Cottrell Bryant (Wiley).
Creating a vlog with Blogger
After you create a video and store it on your computer’s hard drive, you can
upload it to Google Video directly from your blog post editor in Blogger. The
following steps walk you through the process of adding a video to your blog:
1. Click the New Post button on your Blogger dashboard.
This step opens the blog post editor.
2. In the blog post editor, click the Add Video icon on the post editor
toolbar, shown in Figure 15-7.
It’s the second icon from the right and looks like a filmstrip. The Add a
Video to Your Blog Post dialog box opens.
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295Chapter 15: Blogging from Different Media
Click to add video to your post.
3. In the Add a Video to Your Blog Post dialog box, click the Browse button
to find your video on your computer’s hard drive (see Figure 15-8).
You can upload videos in AVI, MPEG, QuickTime, Real, and Windows
Media formats. The maximum file size that’s allowed is 100 MB.
4. In the Video Title text box, enter a title for your video.
This title is used to store your uploaded video in Google Video, which
can be accessed at anytime at http://video.google.com.
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296 Part V: Extending Your Blog
The videos you upload by way of Blogger are stored in Google Video,
which features videos uploaded from people around the world.
However, the videos you upload by using the Blogger post editor are
stored as private videos on Google Search, which means that they don’t
show up in searches on Google Video.
5. Click the Upload Video button in the upper-right corner of the screen.
Your video is automatically uploaded to your blog post.
The process of uploading your video can take several minutes. Be
patient and let the process complete before you navigate away from
your blog post editor.
The speed of your video upload can be affected by the file size, resolu-
tion, and your Internet connection speed.
6. Add a title to your post by typing it in the Title text box and then click
the Publish Post button. That’s all there is to it!
You can view your post live online to see how it looks. Figure 15-9 pro-
vides an example of how a vlog post looks.
A vlog post
like a writ-
with a video
Visitors can click the Play button, located beneath the video, to watch your
vlog post. By using vlogging, your visitors can see and hear what you have
to say, making the experience on your blog seem even more interactive than
written blog posts can provide.
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In This Chapter
▶ Assigning your own domain
▶ Redirecting readers to a new domain
▶ Exploring third-party hosting
▶ Using FTP to publish your blog
▶ Finding help
The longer you publish a blog, the more it grows and the more often
opportunities arise for you to enhance and expand your blog and your
overall online presence. In fact, the time may come when you want to remove
the .blogspot segment of your blog’s URL, which is automatically included
in all free blogs hosted by Blogger.com. Many people perceive that section
of a blog address as amateurish. Whether they’re correct is open for debate;
there’s something to be said, however, for investing in a domain name of
your own that typically costs very little but helps you create an online brand
and credibility for yourself and your blog.
As your blog grows, you might want to pursue the option of hosting it by way
of a third party other than Blogger, to allow maximum flexibility and growth.
Keep in mind that obtaining your own domain name and third-party hosting
is an added expense that you have to continually pay for. Making the deci-
sion to switch from a completely free blog to one that requires a monetary
investment shouldn’t be taken lightly or be done hastily.
This chapter explains some of the pros and cons of using your own domain
and a third-party host to help you make informed decisions and get started
after you make the decision to venture out into the world of domain name
registration and third-party hosting.
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298 Part V: Extending Your Blog
Using Your Own Domain
One of the first issues that bloggers consider as their blogs grow is whether
they need to have their own domain names. Free blogs from Blogger.com
always include the .blogspot.com extension. For example, if your blog’s
URL is www.MyGreatBlog.blogspot.com, you might want to obtain your
own domain name that doesn’t include the .blogspot.com segment of the
URL. You can search available domain names through Blogger or a third-
party domain name registrar, such as GoDaddy or BlueHost. In this example,
you might find that www.MyGreatBlog.com or www.MyGreatBlog.net
is available. You can purchase one of these domain names and then redi-
rect your Blogger blog to it. That way, rather than have users type www.
MyGreatBlog.blogspot.com to access your blog, they can simply type
Having your own domain name not only streamlines your URL but can also
give your blog a credibility boost simply because a custom domain name
can symbolize a long-term investment in your blog. Many free blogs that are
published simply to generate money from advertising provide little in terms
of valuable content. Of course, you can find many fantastic free blogs as well,
but the number of spam blogs seems to grow faster every day. Branding
your blog with a custom domain name can help your blog stand out from the
crowds of spam blogs that blanket the Internet.
Obtaining a domain from Blogger
A helpful Blogger feature is that you can use your own domain name and
Blogger will still host your blog for free! You have to pay for your domain
name, but Blogger makes it easy to obtain your new domain and redirect
your blog to it directly from your Blogger dashboard. All you have to do is
follow these steps:
1. Click the Settings link for the appropriate blog from the home page of
your Blogger dashboard, as shown in Figure 16-1.
This step opens the main Settings page within your dashboard.
2. Select the Publishing tab from the top navigation bar on the Settings
page, as shown in Figure 16-2.
The Publishing page opens, where you can obtain your custom domain
3. Select the Custom Domain link, shown in Figure 16-3.
A new section of the page opens, labeled Buy a Domain for Your Blog.
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299Chapter 16: Moving Beyond Blogger
The Settings link
tab on the
The Publishing tab
4. In the Buy a Domain for Your Blog section of the Publishing page,
shown in Figure 16-4, enter the domain name you want to purchase
in the box labeled What Address Would You Like Your Blog to Have,
and then click the Check Availability button.
Blogger responds and tells you whether the requested domain name is
available. When you find an available domain you like, select the appro-
priate Google Checkout button to purchase the domain.
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300 Part V: Extending Your Blog
Click here to buy a custom domain.
You have to pay a fee to obtain a custom domain name. Blogger charges you
$10 to register a domain name through a Google partner for one year. You
must renew your registration when the one-year registration period is over.
When you obtain a new domain name through Blogger, you must sign up for a
Google Apps account (for free) during the registration process. This account
facilitates the domain name registration process. You can learn more about
Google Apps in Google Apps For Dummies by Ryan Teeter and Karl Barksdale
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301Chapter 16: Moving Beyond Blogger
When you switch to a custom domain, your old URL, which included the
.blogspot.com extension, is automatically redirected to your new domain,
so visitors who bookmarked your blog can still find it.
Buying a domain from a third party
If you purchase your new domain by way of a company other than Blogger,
click the Switch to Advanced Settings link (refer to Figure 16-4). A new
Advanced Settings page opens, as shown in Figure 16-5.
to a domain
by way of a
In the text box labeled Your Domain, enter the new domain name you regis-
tered. Note that when you register your new domain this way, you have to
update the Domain Name System (DNS) settings for it so that the Internet
knows that it exists. The steps you follow vary among domain name regis-
trars, so check with yours for specific instructions on how to update the DNS
settings for your new domain. Also, be aware that it can take several days for
DNS settings to finish updating and for your new domain to start working.
Overall, redirecting your blog to a new domain is fairly easy and causes few
problems. It’s definitely something to consider early in your blogging career
to make the transition process as easy and painless as possible for you and
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302 Part V: Extending Your Blog
Using a Third-Party Host
The process of using a third-party (or an external) host other than Blogger to
store and deliver your blog is more complex than redirecting your domain
name. Blogger wasn’t originally created as a blogging platform to be used
through third-party hosts, but in recent years a work-around has been cre-
ated to make Blogger more competitive with applications such as WordPress
that work seamlessly with third-party hosts. Although the work-around isn’t
perfect, it gets the job done.
A third-party host is a company that stores your blog’s content and makes it
available to visitors online. Two primary advantages to using a third-party
host are flexibility and control. With a third-party host, you can add any
feature that you want to your blog and grow it as big as you want as long
as you’re willing to pay for the space that’s needed. You can choose from
a wide variety of blog hosts, including BlueHost, GoDaddy, 1and1, Network
Solutions, and more. Be sure to research several blog hosts before deciding
on the one that will work best for meeting your needs at an acceptable price.
Even if you host your Blogger blog by using a third party, you’re still required
Although using a third-party host gives you maximum flexibility and control,
it requires more technical knowledge, effort, and time to make everything
work correctly, and of course, it requires that you pay hosting fees. It’s up to
you to weigh the pros and cons of using a third-party host or sticking with
Blogger as your host. Whatever you do, don’t make a decision without fully
thinking through the process as well as the benefits and downsides of making
Publishing via FTP
The longer you blog, the more courageous you’re likely to be about tackling
new tools, particularly those that allow you to expand and enhance your
blog. Using a third-party host is one of those options you might want to use
one day. When you use a third-party host, you must publish posts to your
blog using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) connection.
In other words, you need to connect your Blogger account to your third-party
hosting account to upload your files to your blog. To do so, you have to
✓ Follow the directions provided by your external host to configure your
account with that host to be able to receive, store, and publish your
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303Chapter 16: Moving Beyond Blogger
✓ Configure your Blogger account to correctly send your blog files to your
The following steps walk you through the process of configuring the settings
in your Blogger dashboard to begin publishing by way of FTP to your third-
party blog host:
1. Obtain your FTP path from your third-party host account.
The FTP path tells Blogger where to put your files on the third-party
host’s server when you transmit them through your FTP connection.
2. Open the Publishing page from the Settings tab of your Blogger dash-
board and select the FTP link to switch to FTP publishing through a
third-party blog host.
A new section of the page opens, where you can enter your FTP settings.
3. Enter your FTP server (typically, your domain, such as yourdomain.
com), your blog URL, your FTP path (from Step 1), and your blog file-
name (obtained from your third-party blog host). Then select the Save
Your blog is now configured to use FTP publishing.
4. Go to the Posting tab in your Blogger dashboard and select the newly
available Status tab.
This step opens a page where you can republish your blog in order to
reflect the updates you just made.
5. Select the Republish Entire Blog button.
Your entire blog is automatically republished using the FTP settings you
just configured. Be patient. If your blog is large, this process can take
several minutes to complete.
After you set up the FTP settings for your blog, you also need to change the
path for your blog archives on the Archive Settings tab of your Blogger dash-
board. You also have to redirect your blog’s feed to your new feed files on the
Site Feed Settings tab of your Blogger dashboard.
Much of the work to set up your blog using a third-party host is done within
your hosting account. Each blog host works a bit differently, so you must work
directly with your host to ensure that your account is configured correctly to
work with your Blogger account.
Don’t be afraid to call and ask your host for help in setting up your blog. Most
are quite familiar with the challenges bloggers face in trying to move their
blogs to their own hosts and are happy to help you successfully make the
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304 Part V: Extending Your Blog
Configuring your Blogger blog to work with your own domain and a third-
party host can be confusing and challenging. Luckily, you can find help in a
variety of places as you work your way through the process.
The official Blogger.com help site provides a wealth of information to help
you start your blog, including information about custom domains and exter-
The official Blogger.com blog provides updates about new features and
enhancements that can make your blogging life easier.
Blogger Help Group
The official Google Group dedicated to providing Blogger.com help is a useful
resource where users help each other find answers to questions and solve
problems. You can join the group and post your questions to find help from
people around the world.
BloggerHelp channel on YouTube
The BloggerHelp channel on YouTube has several useful video tuto-
rials to help you use a variety of Blogger features, including a video
that shows you how to set up a custom domain: www.youtube.com/
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305Chapter 16: Moving Beyond Blogger
The Blogger Buster blog is written by Amanda Fazani, a freelance blogger and
a Web and blog designer. She writes clear and easy-to-follow posts on her
blog, which is all about using Blogger.com. Her blog also includes a forum
where visitors can further discuss questions and problems.
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306 Part V: Extending Your Blog
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The Part of Tens
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In this part . . .
Everyone loves lists. The Part of Tens gives you lists
of places to find Blogger templates, solutions to
common problems, useful social networking and social
bookmarking sites, and more. In time, you’ll undoubtedly
find more resources to add to these lists to make them
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In This Chapter
▶ Popular social networking sites
▶ Helpful social bookmarking sites
Apowerful strategy for building your blog is to take advantage of social
networking and social bookmarking sites. Chapter 12 provides a wealth
of details to help you find out how to use these tools, including some of
the most popular social networking sites (such as MySpace, Facebook, and
LinkedIn) and social bookmarking sites (such as Digg, StumbleUpon, and
Delicious), but you have many more options to choose from. That’s where
this chapter comes into play.
Don’t rely solely on the heavy hitters of the social Web, described in Chap-
ter 12, to network and share content online. A variety of niche and grow-
ing social networking and social bookmarking sites can help you build an
audience for your blog. In fact, new sites pop up every day. Take the time
to research the networking and bookmarking sites and find ones that will
help you the most, and then focus your efforts on those sites. The ones you
choose are the ones where people like you (and the people who would want
to read your blog) are spending their time.
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310 Part VI: The Part of Tens
The popular Friendster site is very similar to other popular social network-
ing sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Friendster (shown in Figure 17-1),
which is open to anyone over the age of 16, invites its more than 75 million
members from around the world to connect, share information, and commu-
nicate in a common space. The site offers a variety of applications to users to
customize their experiences, including a mobile application. The clean design
of Friendster helps you easily find friends and try applications.
easy to find
The BlogHer social networking site is unique in that its intended audience is
women bloggers. BlogHer (shown in Figure 17-2) offers a directory of female
bloggers, advertising, forums, and conferences. Additionally, members can
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311Chapter 17: Ten Useful Social Networking and Social Bookmarking Sites
create their own blogs on BlogHer to share thoughts, ideas, and news so
female bloggers can communicate, network, and grow.
blogs, a blog
Members of Orkut, a social networking site owned by Google, can communi-
cate, connect, and share information, pictures, and videos. Although Orkut
isn’t one of the most popular social networking sites, it has a strong Brazilian
user base. You can sign in to Orkut by using the Google Account information
you set up when you created your Blogger blog (see Figure 17-3), so it’s easy
to get started.
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312 Part VI: The Part of Tens
sign in to
Reddit (shown in Figure 17-4) is a popular social bookmarking site known for
its “no frills” appearance. To use Reddit, you create a free account and begin
submitting content by clicking the Submit button on the Reddit site. As users
vote content up and down, the most popular content makes it to the home
page of Reddit and drives a lot of traffic to that blog or Web site. Reddit has
a reputation of focusing on offbeat news and unique commentary on current
but it’s jam-
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313Chapter 17: Ten Useful Social Networking and Social Bookmarking Sites
Furl (see Figure 17-5) is a unique social bookmarking site because it lets users
save, for later access, a copy of any page online as it appears at that moment.
Each member can store as much as 5 gigabytes of data. Users can also search
and share saved pages with each other.
The Slashdot slogan says it all: “News for nerds and stuff that matters.”
Slashdot (shown in Figure 17-6) has a reputation for being an outstanding
social bookmarking site for people looking to find and share content related
to technology, science, or science fiction. Slashdot works slightly differently
from other social bookmarking sites in that submissions are reviewed by edi-
tors before they’re available for the Slashdot community to view.
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314 Part VI: The Part of Tens
The Newsvine social bookmarking site (shown in Figure 17-7) weighs submis-
sions by popularity, freshness of content, and reputation of the user who
submitted the content. The site is popular for finding serious business or
news content. The community rates submissions, and highly rated submis-
sions can drive a lot of traffic to the original site or blog.
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315Chapter 17: Ten Useful Social Networking and Social Bookmarking Sites
The growing social bookmarking site Magnolia lets users save Web pages
with tags, search other people’s tags, make friends, and share content.
Magnolia’s reputation relies more on its strong focus on joining communi-
ties and discussions rather than on finding content. From the Magnolia home
page (shown in Figure 17-8), for example, users can easily enter tags in the
Search field at the bottom of the page to find content of interest.
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316 Part VI: The Part of Tens
Although Kirtsy (see Figure 17-9), a newer social bookmarking site, focuses
on content of interest to a female audience, it’s open to anyone to join and
use. Members share content, make friends, and communicate with each
other. Additionally, a group of editors provides content that’s featured on the
Kirtsy home page.
links to pop-
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317Chapter 17: Ten Useful Social Networking and Social Bookmarking Sites
Propeller (shown in Figure 17-10) is offered through AOL and works simi-
larly to other popular social bookmarking sites, such as Digg. The interface
looks good, and it works well too. Users submit and vote on content, search
by using user-defined tags, communicate, and share information in a social
atmosphere. Propeller has a reputation of focusing on news and political
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318 Part VI: The Part of Tens
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In This Chapter
▶ Keeping your Blogger account accessible
▶ Avoiding spam problems
▶ Making all your blog elements show up properly
▶ Ensuring that strange characters don’t show up
As you work with Blogger, you’re likely to encounter questions or prob-
lems. Unfortunately, as with most computer and Internet applications,
Blogger doesn’t always work perfectly. Known bugs and fixes are frequently
posted on the Blogger Buzz blog (at http://buzz.blogger.com), but
solutions to common problems such as recovering a forgotten password or
publishing your profile can be found in this chapter or by visiting the Blogger
Help Web site at http://help.blogger.com.
If you encounter a problem with Blogger, don’t panic. Take some time to read
through this chapter, visit the Blogger blog and the Blogger Help Web site, or
post a question in the Blogger Help Group (http://groups.google.com/
group/blogger-help). Chances are good that someone else has struggled
through the same problem you’re having, and the answer can be found with a
bit of research.
You Have Trouble Signing In
to Your Blogger Account
You might have trouble signing in to your Blogger account for many reasons,
✓ You’re using an incorrect username.
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320 Part VI: The Part of Tens
✓ You’re using an incorrect password.
✓ You’re having browser problems.
The first thing to check when you try to log in to your Blogger account without
success is your username. Make sure that the one you enter into the login box
is correct. Your username is the same as the e-mail address you used to set
up your original Google account. If you can’t remember the e-mail address you
used then, visit the Google Accounts Password Assistance page at https://
www.google.com/accounts/ForgotPasswd, shown in Figure 18-1.
One at a time, enter into the Email text box each possible address that you
could have used to set up your Google account, and click the Submit button
each time. A message is returned after each submission stating that either
an account doesn’t exist for that e-mail address or an e-mail has been sent to
that address with a link for you to click to reset your password. Follow the
link in the e-mail message to reset your password. Going forward, use that
e-mail address as your Blogger account username and use your new pass-
word to log in to your account.
You can also look up your username by filling out the Forgot Your Username
or Password form, described in the following section.
If you can’t remember your Blogger account password, simply click the ques-
tion mark symbol in the Password (?) link. It’s in the upper-right corner of the
Blogger home page (www.blogger.com), shown in Figure 18-2. The Forgot
Your Username or Password form opens, as shown in Figure 18-3. Complete
this form to access your account information. Your password is automati-
cally e-mailed to the e-mail address associated with your Blogger account.
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321Chapter 18: Ten Common Blogger Problems and Possible Solutions
mark (?) link
ery form to
Your browser settings can make it difficult for you to log in to your Blogger
account. Your first step to fix a browser problem is to clear your browser’s
cache and cookies. Also make sure that your computer’s antivirus software
and firewall are configured correctly to accept Blogger’s cookies and enable
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322 Part VI: The Part of Tens
You Cannot Access Your Blogger Account
Although Google tries to ensure that Blogger is accessible at all times, some-
times when you try to log in to your Blogger account, you see a browser
error page telling you that the page isn’t available. If this happens, check to
make sure that your internet connection is working. If possible, try to access
your account from another computer. If you still can’t access your blog, visit
http://status.blogger.com, where you can find updates on current
Blogger status issues.
You Discover the Case of
the Disappearing Blog
Unfortunately, sometimes a blogger is faced with a blank dashboard after log-
ging in to a Blogger account. Alternatively, bloggers and readers sometimes
type known URLs into their browsers only to find that the blogs are no longer
available. Two primary reasons explain the mystery of the disappearing blog:
✓ The blogger logged in to his Blogger account with the wrong user-
name and password.
This situation happens frequently to people who maintain more than
one Blogger account.
✓ The blogger violated the Blogger or Google terms of service.
This problem happens to bloggers who didn’t adhere to the policies
they agreed to abide by when they created their Google and Blogger
accounts. For example, a blog that publishes pornographic, violent, or
hateful content would be in violation of the Blogger content policy.
If your blog is truly gone, contact Blogger for assistance by submitting the
online help form at www.blogger.com/problem.g.
Your Blog Is Identified As Spam
The most common reason a blog might be identified as spam is when it
includes ads with no (or very little) original content, which is a violation of
the Blogger and Google terms of service. Google uses an automated process
to identify blogs as spam. Unfortunately, that means some blogs that aren’t
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323Chapter 18: Ten Common Blogger Problems and Possible Solutions
spam can be erroneously identified as spam and disabled. If this happens
to your blog, it appears on your Blogger dashboard, but you cannot access
it. Luckily, Blogger users can follow a review process to request that Google
reactivate their blogs.
Typically, when a blog is locked after being detected as potential spam,
an e-mail is sent to the e-mail address used to set up the original Google
account. The message notifies the blogger that
✓ An automated system determined the blog to be spam.
✓ The account has been locked.
The e-mail also provides a link that the blogger can follow to complete a form
requesting manual review and unlocking of the blog. In the e-mail, the blogger
is given a specific timeframe to submit a review request.
Some blogs identified as potential spam are modified by Google and a word-
verification step is added to the post editor. To publish a new post, the blog-
ger must enter the word-verification text. The blogger can click the question
mark icon next to the word-verification form and fill out a form to request to
have the blog reviewed and the word-verification step removed.
You Don’t’ Know Why Changes
Aren’t Being Published
Sometimes, you can make changes to your blog, click the Save or Publish
button, and nothing happens. The changes you made appear within your
Blogger dashboard, but your live blog looks exactly the way it did before you
made any changes. What’s going on? This common problem is most often
caused by your browser’s cookies and cache settings.
Web browsers store copies of pages that you visit as you’re surfing the Web.
When you load a page online (for example, a page you just published on
your blog), the saved version stored in your blog’s cache sometimes appears
rather than the newest version. If your recent changes don’t appear on your
blog, use your browser tools to clear your cache and delete your cookies,
and then refresh the page in your browser window.
If a single blog post doesn’t publish, check to make sure that you didn’t save it
as a draft rather than publish it.
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324 Part VI: The Part of Tens
You Have Profile Problems
Although Chapter 5 shows you how to create a complete profile, sometimes
you can have trouble publishing certain elements of your profile. If your pro-
file picture, blogs, interests, and favorites don’t appear correctly online, you
can try some of these suggestions to fix the problem:
✓ Your profile picture doesn’t publish.
Make sure that the image was correctly uploaded to the Web using
Picasa, Flickr, or your preferred method, and then ensure that you
entered the correct URL for the image. The URL must be fewer than 64
characters, and the file size must be smaller than 50KB. Additionally,
you should use a Web-friendly format, such as JPG, GIF, or PNG.
✓ One or more of your blogs doesn’t appear on your list of blogs in your
Click the Edit Profile link on the Blogger dashboard. The Edit User
Profile window opens. In the Show My Blogs section, click the Select
Blogs to Display link and select the check boxes next to the blogs you
want to display on your profile, as shown in Figure 18-4. Remember to
click the Save button.
✓ Interests and favorites don’t publish.
Each of the Interests and Favorites sections of your blog profile must be
fewer than 2,000 characters or else they don’t publish.
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325Chapter 18: Ten Common Blogger Problems and Possible Solutions
Your Text Formatting Buttons
The Blogger post editor allows users to type blog posts using HTML code or
a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) post editor. Using the WYSIWYG
post editor, referred to as working in Compose mode, provides users with a
toolbar of useful icons to make blog post writing similar to writing a docu-
ment in word processing software.
If the formatting icons don’t appear in your post editor, visit the Settings
page within your Blogger dashboard and select the Basics tab. Scroll down to
the Compose Mode for All Your Blogs option and choose Yes from the drop-
down menu. Remember to click the Save button to save your changes. After
this setting is configured, you can use the Compose mode with the formatting
buttons visible to write your blog posts.
Your Post Labels Are Missing
If you enter labels into your posts but they don’t publish on your blog, make
sure that they’re configured to be displayed. From the Blogger dashboard,
click the Layout link and then the Page Elements tab. In the Blog Posts box,
click the Edit link to change your blog post configuration settings. The
Configure Blog Posts window opens. Select the check box next to Labels, and
then click the Save button. After you save your change, labels automatically
appear on your blog.
You See Strange Characters, Blank
Pages, or Undecipherable Code
If you copy and paste text from Microsoft Word or another program that
uses encoding that’s different from Blogger’s, the published text might look
strange. A simple way to correct this problem is to copy and paste the text
into Notepad or a similar program to remove all encoding. Then copy it again
from Notepad and paste it into your Blogger post editor.
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326 Part VI: The Part of Tens
You Have a Floating Sidebar
If you include an element in one of your blog’s columns that’s wider than
the width of that column, the sidebar moves to the bottom of the page. It’s
important to note that the sidebar might float to the bottom of the page
on your computer, but not on your friend’s computer. Similarly, the side-
bar might float to the bottom of the page when you view your blog in one
browser, but not in another.
Each browser and computer is set up differently, but if your sidebar is float-
ing in one, you have to find out what’s causing the problem. Check the width
of the various elements included in your blog’s columns, and find the one
that’s too wide for the column it’s in. Make the necessary changes to the
element that’s causing the problem. Refresh your browser, and your blog
should display correctly.
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In This Chapter
▶ Creating a unique look and feel for your blog with third-party templates
▶ Finding free Blogger themes and templates
If you want your blog to have a more distinctive look and feel than the
commonly used Blogger templates provide, you can look into having a
custom Blogger template created for your blog. Of course, custom design
work doesn’t come without a price tag, so if you want to keep expenses down
and still have a distinctive blog design, you can download a free template
from a wide variety of Web sites.
Many blog designers create Blogger templates and share them with Blogger
users for free. Although another person is likely to choose the same free
template you choose, it will certainly be more distinctive than if you simply
use one of the templates from your Blogger dashboard. Chapter 7 provides
details on how to switch from a free template from Blogger to one that you
download from another Web site. This chapter provides ten resources where
you can find free Blogger templates to use on your blog.
The eblog templates site provides a huge directory of Blogger templates that
you can download for free. Each free template is listed along with reviews,
live demos, statistics, download instructions, creation dates, and designer
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328 Part VI: The Part of Tens
information. You can sort the free Blogger templates by review rating or
download frequency. Chances are good that even the pickiest bloggers can
find templates they like from the more than 140 free Blogger templates.
To find the free templates, shown in Figure 19-1, just select the Blogger tab
from the top navigation bar. You can then click through the various pages
listing the free Blogger templates that are available for immediate download
to use on your blog.
A site that
BTemplates offers more than 450 free Blogger templates for download and
use without restrictions. The site is dedicated solely to providing Blogger
templates, so you aren’t bogged down by wading through WordPress or
other blogging platform templates. In the right sidebar of the BTemplates
Web site (see Figure 19-2), you can choose from a variety of categories to
narrow your search. For example, you can filter the Blogger templates by
number of columns or colors.
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329Chapter 19: Ten Places to Find Free Blogger Themes and Templates
The free templates available at BTemplates are displayed with review infor-
mation and the creation date and number of downloads. Overall, the site is
easy to navigate and gives you lots of choices for free Blogger templates.
BlogFlux offers a blog theme directory with more than 130 free Blogger
templates available for download. Each template is displayed with a review
rating and an online demo, and the creation date is listed. You also see a link
to view the BlogFlux profile for the template designer.
To view the free Blogger templates available from BlogFlux, click the Blogger
link in the left column under the Blog Software heading, shown in Figure 19-3.
Then click through the Blogger template designs to find one you want to
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330 Part VI: The Part of Tens
The Blogger Buster blog, written by Blogger user and designer Amanda
Fazani, also includes a list of free Blogger themes that she created. A long-
time Blogger user, Amanda creates templates from the fun and quirky design
to the serious and professional layout. You can also view demos of each of
Amanda’s Blogger template designs and find instructions to use each one.
To find free templates on Blogger Buster, simply select Templates from the
top navigation bar, as shown in Figure 19-4.
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331Chapter 19: Ten Places to Find Free Blogger Themes and Templates
the fun and
Pyzam.com offers a wide variety of blog template designs, MySpace layouts,
graphics, widgets, pictures, and much more, including free Blogger tem-
plates. Prepare to spend some time searching the site because it offers more
than 1,000 free Blogger templates. Fortunately, you can search using the
handy categories available in the left sidebar. Thousands of keywords are
used to create categories on Pyzam.
To search the free Blogger templates offered on this site, shown in Figure
19-5, click the Blogger Templates link in the left sidebar. The sidebar expands
to reveal a variety of Blogger template categories to choose from. Select More
Categories from that list to display an alphabetical listing of all the keywords
used to categorize the Blogger templates available on the site.
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332 Part VI: The Part of Tens
plates at the
All Blog Tools
All Blog Tools has a goal to be the largest online source for free Blogger tem-
plates. All designs are credited to the original designers, and the site makes
finding just the type of template you want very easy.
To view the free Blogger templates on this site, visit www.allblogtools.
com, and select Blogger Templates from the top navigation bar. Then simply
use the Browse by Category and Browse by Layout links in the sidebar shown
in Figure 19-6 to narrow your search, scroll through the design thumbnails,
and select each one to view a larger example, a demo, and design details.
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333Chapter 19: Ten Places to Find Free Blogger Themes and Templates
The popular Blogger-Templates site lets you find free Blogger templates, even
though it can be cumbersome to navigate and search. You can use the links
in the Browse Templates section of the right sidebar, shown in Figure 19-7, to
narrow your search, and you have a wide variety of designs to choose from.
This site is
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334 Part VI: The Part of Tens
The popular and well-known site JackBook is helpful for finding free Blogger
templates. Its downside is that it takes a while to navigate the list of tem-
plates to find one you like, because you have to click each template listing
to view it. However, JackBook is also known for providing some of the most
popular Blogger templates, so it’s definitely a site that’s worth taking some
time to explore.
To find free Blogger templates on JackBook (shown in Figure 19-8), simply
visit the URL listed here, and then scroll through the list of links to find avail-
able Blogger templates.
The Blogcrowds site offers nearly 100 free Blogger templates. You can find
simple download instructions and demos, and the site’s categorization helps
you easily find the type of template you’re looking for. To find free Blogger
templates, click the Resources link from the top navigation page. Then click
the Blogger Templates link on the Resources page, shown in Figure 19-9, to
open the directory of Blogger templates.
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335Chapter 19: Ten Places to Find Free Blogger Themes and Templates
a variety of
The Blogger Blog Templates blog is written by Blogger users, who provide
a useful compilation of some of the best free Blogger templates available
online. You use the simple links at the top of every page to filter templates by
number of columns, by selected colors, or by a variety of other criteria. The
site is easy to navigate and use, and each template includes a commentary
from the site’s authors.
To find free templates at the Blogger Templates site, shown in Figure 19-10,
scroll through the blog posts. Alternatively, you can use the navigation tabs
at the top of the page or the tags in the tag cloud (the series of keywords) at
the top of the page to narrow your search.
Always save and back up your existing template code before you replace it.
Read Chapter 7 for complete details on changing your Blogger template.
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336 Part VI: The Part of Tens
in the tem-
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affiliate advertising: A process in which bloggers display ads for advertis-
ers as affiliates for those advertisers, and the advertisers pay the bloggers
every time blog visitors follow those ad links and make purchases or perform
specified actions. Popular affiliate advertising programs include Amazon
Associates, LinkShare, and Commission Junction.
archive: The location on a blog where posts that aren’t current are stored for
easy access by visitors.
Atom: A type of syndication format used to deliver feeds. See also feed, feed
attribution: The citing of the source of a story, a quote, or an image used
within a blog post.
audio blog: See podcast.
backlink: A reference link (or “shoulder tap”) used to notify one Blogger.com
blog when another Blogger.com blog has linked to that site. Backlinks appear
as links within the comments section of blog posts
blog: An online diary with entries listed in reverse chronological order, one
of the first methods of bringing user-generated content to the mainstream.
It’s a shorter version of the original term weblog, a fusion of the words Web
and log. As blogging grew in popularity, individuals, groups, and businesses
joined the blogosphere. Blogs uniquely provide a two-way conversation
between author and visitor by using the commenting feature.
blog carnival: A blogging promotional event in which a group of bloggers
gathers virtually to write about a predetermined topic. All participants
submit the links to their posts, and all links are published in a single carnival
round-up post. All participants promote the carnival on their blogs with the
intention of driving traffic to all blogs involved.
blog contest: A blogging promotional event in which a giveaway is raffled in
order to drive traffic to the hosting blog.
blog host: A company that provides space (for free or for a fee) on its servers
to store and maintain blogs.
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338 Google Blogger For Dummies
blog marketing: The process of promoting your blog to drive traffic to it.
Examples of blog promotion tactics include leaving comments on other blogs
with links back to your blog; linking to blogs within your blog posts and send-
ing backlinks or trackbacks to those blogs; adding blogs to your blogroll;
and participating in social bookmarking and networking. Also called blog
blog post: An individual entry written by a blogger and published on a blog.
blog promotion: See blog marketing.
blog statistics: The data used to track the performance of a blog.
blogger: A person who writes content for a blog.
Blogger: An online software program, owned by Google, that helps users
create and maintain blogs.
blogging: The act of writing and publishing blog posts or entries.
blogging software: The program used by bloggers to create and main-
tain blogs, such as Blogger, LiveJournal, Moveable Type, TypePad, and
WordPress. Also called blog platform.
blogosphere: The online blogging community, made up of bloggers from
around the world creating user-generated content as part of the social Web.
blogroll: A list of links created by a blogger and published on her blog. Links
in a blogroll are typically related to the blog topic or other sites that the blog-
ger enjoys or recommends.
bounce rate: The percentage of people who leave a blog immediately after
browser: A software application used to surf the Internet, including Internet
Explorer, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Google Chrome, and others. Also called Web
comment: An opinion or a reaction, written by a blog reader, to a specific
post. Comments can be submitted at the end of blog posts when the blogger
has chosen to allow them.
comment moderation: The process of holding comments for review before
publishing them on a blog so spam and offensive comments aren’t published.
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comment policy: A set of rules and restrictions published on a blog to set
visitor expectations about which types of comments are allowed and which
types are likely to be deleted.
contextual advertising: A type of ad that’s based on the content found on the
page where the ad appears. Popular contextual advertising programs include
Google AdSense and Kontera.
CSS: The acronym for Cascading Style Sheets, which is used by Web designers
to create blog layouts. CSS coding directs the look and feel of a blog.
dashboard: The primary account management page of an online software
program, such as Blogger or Google AdSense, where users can access the
tools and functionality to modify settings and create content, for example.
domain name: The part of a URL that represents a specific Web site. Domain
names are typically preceded by the letters www. and end with an extension,
such as .com or .net.
feed: The syndicated content of a blog. See also feed reader, RSS.
feed reader: A tool used to receive feeds from blogs and deliver them to sub-
scribers in aggregated format for quick and easy viewing in one place.
flame: A message, a comment, a blog post, or another online published sub-
mission intended to attack or undermine another person.
flame war: The process of exchanging blog posts, comments, or online con-
tent between two people in an ongoing, back-and-forth manner for the pur-
pose of attacking or undermining one another.
flash: Streaming animation that appears on Web pages.
footer: The area spanning the bottom of a blog page, which typically includes
copyright information and may include other elements, such as a contact link
forum: An online message board where participants post messages in prede-
termined categories, creating an online conversation between a potentially
large group of people.
FTP: The acronym for File Transfer Protocol, a process used to transfer files
from one computer to another across the Internet.
Google: A company based in California that produces software, programs,
tools, and utilities to help people use the Internet to accomplish tasks.
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340 Google Blogger For Dummies
Popular Google programs include Google AdSense, Google AdWords, Google
Docs, Google Groups, and Google Search.
guest blogging: The process of writing free posts to appear on another per-
son’s blog, or accepting free posts from another blogger to publish on your
blog, with the purpose of networking and driving blog traffic.
header: The area spanning the top of a blog page where the blog title, graph-
ics, and, possibly, navigational links or ads appear.
hit: A blog statistic that’s counted every time a file is downloaded from your
blog. Each page in a blog or Web site typically contains multiple files.
home page: The first page visitors see when they enter a root domain name.
HTML: The acronym for Hypertext Markup Language, a programming lan-
guage made up of tags used to create Web sites and blogs.
HTML editor: The section of the blog post editor within a blogging software
application, such as Blogger, in which the blogger must enter HTML code to
create the post rather than typing text in a WYSIWIG (What You See is What
You Get) post editor. See also WYSWIG.
hyperlink: See link.
impression-based advertising: An ad model in which bloggers publish ads
for advertisers and are paid based on the number of times visitors see those
ads. Popular impression-based advertising programs include Tribal Fusion
keyword: A word or phrase used to help index a Web page by topic so that
search engines can find it.
label: A keyword used in Blogger to categorize a blog post.
link: A connection between two Web sites that, when selected, opens
another Web page in the user’s browser. Also called hyperlink.
link bait: A post written for the primary purpose of attracting traffic and
links. Link bait posts are typically related to popular topics that might have
nothing to do with the topic of the blog on which the post is published.
lurker: A person who frequently reads blogs but doesn’t leave comments or
make his presence known.
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message board: See forum.
microblogging: A method of publishing short snippets (typically 140 charac-
ters or fewer) by using a site such as Twitter or Plurk.
moblogging: The process of writing and publishing blog posts using mobile
technology, such as cellular phones. A fusion of the words mobile and blog-
ging, it’s also called mobile blogging.
multiuser blog: A blog authored by more than one person that can be edited
by multiple people using blogging software.
newbie: A person who is new to blogging or forum participation or another
online activity. Also called noob.
niche: A specific and highly targeted segment of an audience or market. A
niche blog appeals to a specific group of people.
page rank: A ranking used to determine a blog’s popularity, typically based
on traffic and incoming links.
page view: A blog statistic that tracks the number of times a Web page is
viewed independent of who is viewing the page.
permalink: A link to a specific page in a blog that remains unchanged over
time. It’s a fusion of the words permanent and link.
ping: A signal sent from one Web site to another to ensure that the other site
exists. Pings are also used to notify sites that receive information from ping
servers of updates to a blog or Web site.
podcast: An audio file that’s recorded digitally for playback online. Bloggers
use podcasts to create audio blog posts. Also called audio blogging.
post: An entry on a blog, typically published in reverse chronological order.
post editor: The blogging software function that a blogger uses for typing the
content of a blog post. See also HTML editor, visual editor.
professional blogger: A person who writes blogs as a career.
profile: A blogger’s About Me page, which describes who the blogger is and
why she’s qualified to write the blog.
referrer: A Web site, blog, or search engine that leads visitors to a blog.
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342 Google Blogger For Dummies
RSS: The acronym for Really Simple Syndication, the technology that collects
Web content. Users subscribe to Web sites and blogs. The updates to those
Web sites and blogs are collected together, and subscribers receive new
content from those sites in one place within a feed reader. See also feed, feed
search engine: A Web site used to find Web pages related to specific key-
words or keyword phrases. Search engines use proprietary criteria to exam-
ine the Internet and return results relevant to submitted keywords. Results
are typically presented in a ranked order determined by the aforementioned
proprietary criteria. Google, Yahoo! and MSN Search are popular search
search engine optimization: The process of writing Web content, designing
Web pages, and promoting online content to boost rankings within search
engine keyword searches. Also called SEO.
SEO: See search engine optimization.
sidebar: A column on a blog to the right or left or flanking the largest, main
column. Sidebars typically include ancillary content, such as a blogroll,
archives, and ads.
social bookmarking: A method of saving, storing, and sharing Web pages for
reference. Popular social bookmarking sites include Delicious, Digg, Reddit,
social networking: The act of communicating and building relationships
with other people online. Popular social networking sites include Facebook,
Friendster, and LinkedIn.
social Web: The second generation of the World Wide Web, which focuses on
interaction, user-generated content, communities, and building relationships.
Also called Web 2.0.
spam: A type of comment submitted on a blog for no reason other than to
drive traffic to another Web site. Spam can also come in e-mail form.
sponsored review: A blog post written for the purpose of being paid by
an advertiser who solicits it. Popular sponsored review networks include
PayPerPost.com, ReviewMe.com, and SponsoredReviews.com.
subscribe: To sign up to receive a blog’s feed in a feed reader or by e-mail.
tag: A keyword used to identify and categorize a blog post. Tags are also read
by blog search engines to provide search results to users.
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Technorati: A popular blog search engine.
template: A predesigned blog layout created to make it easy for people with
little to no computer knowledge to start and maintain a blog. Also called
text link ad: A type of ads that appears as a simple text link on blogs and
Web sites. Text link ads are typically used to drive business and to boost the
number of incoming links for the advertiser’s Web site, thereby boosting the
advertiser’s page rank.
third-party host: A company other than a blogger’s blogging software pro-
vider that stores blogs on its server for a fee.
trackback: A reference link (or “shoulder tap”) used to notify a blog when
another blog has linked to that site. Trackbacks appear as links within the
comments section of blog posts. Blogger.com does not accept trackbacks
from other blogs.
troll: A person who posts comments intended to detract from the ongoing
conversation on a blog.
unique visitor: A person who visits a Web page and is counted one time
regardless of how many times he visits it. See also visitor.
URL: The unique address of a specific page on the Internet consisting of an
access protocol (for example, http), a domain name (for example, www.
sitename.com), and an extension identifying the specific page within a
Web site or blog (for example, /specificpage.htm). It’s the acronym for
Uniform Resource Locator.
visit: The occurrence of accessing a page on your blog.
visitor: A person who views a page (or multiple pages) on your blog.
visual editor: The blog post composition function that bloggers use to type
posts by using an interface similar to common word processing. See also
vlogging: The process of publishing videos rather than written blog posts. A
fusion of the words video and blog; also called video blogging.
Web log: See blog.
Web 2.0: See social Web.
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344 Google Blogger For Dummies
WYSIWYG: The acronym for What You See Is What You Get. The visual
editor provided by most blogging software programs allows users to type
blog post content in a form similar to traditional word processing software,
so they can see how a post will look online as they type it.
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• A •
About Me box. See also profile
description of, 65, 127
location information, 127
shared profile, 127
acceptance of terms, 45
access problem, 319–320, 322
FeedBurner application, 228
My Account link, 51
acceptance of terms, 45
blog name, 45
display name, 45
e-mail address, 44–45
word verification, 45
Add Item button, 141
administrator, team blog, 284
Amazon Associates, 193–194
banner, 202, 219
Commission Junction, 197
as common sidebar element, 33
content format, 210
contextual link, 185–187
displaying between post, 126
distinquishing between type of, 201–202
eBay Partner Network, 194
FeedBurner application, 200
half banner, 219
leader board, 219
link units, 218
placing between post, 224–226
search format, 210
sidebar button, 202
sidebar text link, 202
size, 202, 219
skyscraper, 202, 219
SurveyGizmo survey service, 203
SurveyMonkey survey service, 203
text link, 187–189
themed units, 219
AdSense. See Google AdSense application
adult content, 72
Advanced Reports tab (Google AdSense
AdWords Keyword tool, 262–263
affiliate ad, 192–196
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All Blog Tools Web site, 332
AllPosters ad, 195
Amazon Associates ad, 193–194
Anderson, Pamela (celebrities with
answer box, Poll